Analyst: Cablevision Top Pick For 2011

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Miller Tabak media analyst David Joyce selected Cablevision Systems as his top stock pick for 2011, citing the cable company's strong commitment to returning value to shareholders.
Joyce slapped a "buy" rating and a $44 per share 12-month price target on the stock, citing such shareholder friendly actions as its planned spin-off of Rainbow Media Holdings, a 25% increase in its dividend, a share repurchase program and its intent to keep leverage in the 4-to-5 times cash flow range, implying that more buybacks or acquisitions could be in the hopper over time.
"We expect the media stocks with catalysts demonstrating shareholder-friendly moves, and an ability to remain competitive in the face of, and leveraging, the rapidly-evolving digital landscape, to have the best performance in 2011," Joyce wrote.
Although cable stocks have been plagued by basic customer losses, Joyce added he expects gains in high-speed data customers, incremental voice share, commercial services and interactive advertising to more than offset the expected declines.
Cablevision shares have been one of the top performers in the sector this year - they are up more than 60% in 2010 - and the company has been on the cutting edge of technology, with robust broadband speeds, home networking products, a Wi-Fi mesh rollout for mobile Internet users and interactive advertising on its national entertainment networks, Joyce wrote.
Cablevision shares were up 39 cents each (1.1%) to $34.68 in late trading Tuesday.