Insiders Active in Key 5G Beneficiary Ahead of Big Spending Push
Crown Castle (CCI) with a notable open market buy last week from director Kevin Stephens of 1,100 shares at $178.66, a nearly $200K investment in the name. Stephens bought stock in May at $181.50 and follows a $1.2M buy from Landis Martin in March at $158. CCI has underperformed in 2021 with shares up 13% YTD and down over 6% for the quarter. The recent pullback tested a prior breakout zone and range at $170 and has room back to $200+ and a continuation of the broader, long-term trend. The $77B company trades 24 and 12.5X sales with a 3% yield and targeting 12% FFO growth. CCI is the largest provider of communications infrastructure in the US including cell towers, small cells, and fiber. They’ve been realizing better tower leasing activity while small-cell volumes are growing steadily with 5G spending and expansion. CCI has tailwinds over the next 3-5 years from capex spending from carriers on c-band, especially AT&T and Verizon who are looking to play catch up with T-Mobile. Analysts have an average target for shares of $200 with a Street High $221. Deutsche Bank positive on 10/21 citing the 2022 outlook that reinforces their view that Crown Castle remains an outsized beneficiary of robust early 5G builds in the U.S. CSFB upgrading to Outperform on 10/19 as significantly improved carrier capex spend will drive towers’ growth higher. The firm thinks project spend will peak in 2022 at $39.6B, with 2023 coming in at $37.6B. In addition, towers are highly insulated from most of the large risks facing the broader market and tech infrastructure sector today. Short interest is 1.2%. Hedge fund ownership fell 3%.