The tide may be turning for these two telecom stocks 

Wall Street is weighing in on telecoms this week.

Morgan Stanley downgraded Verizon shares to equal weight on a valuation call on Wednesday. This comes a day after Citigroup analysts upgraded AT&T to a buy.

The stock market has picked a different winner this year. While AT&T has tumbled 22 percent in 2018, Verizon has added 9 percent.

Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, says AT&T's charts show it is coming up against a tough roadblock.

"The stock has to bounce a lot more," Maley said on CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Tuesday. "It did try to make a double bottom down near the $29 level, but if you look at the long-term chart, it's got to bounce a lot more before I'd really want to turn positive on the stock."

AT&T has bounced around the $29 level since late October. It had not broken below that level since late 2011.

"It's actually had a tough two-and-a-half years going back to the middle of 2016. It has not had a higher high since then. A move above $34 would give it that higher high, take it above its 200-day moving average and also take it above its one-year trend line. So until we get that kind of a move, even though it's trying to make a bottom here, there's no green flag on this one yet," he said.

AT&T shares are a 13 percent rally from $34. They briefly traded above that level in early October but had not had a sustained stretch above there since April.

Stacey Gilbert, market strategist at Susquehanna, says AT&T's long-term performance depends on the safety of its dividend yield.

"There's a lot of concern, a lot of chatter that is it safe? Is it going to maintain itself? Do they have to cut?" Gilbert said on "Trading Nation" on Tuesday. "If AT&T were to maintain its dividend, this would be viewed positively. Obviously the flipside to that is if they cut it … the market is not pricing that in and that would definitely be a negative for AT&T here."

AT&T has a dividend yield of 6.6 percent, nearly four times the 2 percent yield on the S&P 500. Verizon yields 4.2 percent.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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