• Company is responding to stocks and bonds `free fall': analyst
  • Shares down 30% this month on liquidity, turnaround challenges

Sprint Corp., its stock and bonds dropping to multiyear lows, moved up the date for reporting fourth-quarter earnings by a week, to Jan. 26.

The fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier, eager to quell investors’ concerns, is expected to close 2015 with its first full year of subscriber gains in eight years.

“We want to hear from them -- because the story is not that bad,” said Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst with Wells Fargo Securities LLC, in a note Thursday. Fritzsche is one of three analysts following Sprint with a buy rating on the stock.

While Sprint has added subscribers in the past few quarters using promotions, it has also burned through about half its cash and equivalents. The company had a little more than $2 billion of cash and short-term investments on its books at the end of September, which is about equal to the debt maturing it has to refinance in 2016, a year that so far has been tough for bond issuers.

The carrier is aiming to cut $2 billion to $2.5 billion in costs, though analysts have expressed skepticism that the plan will work.

Morgan Stanley credit analyst David Hamburger in a note Wednesday said Sprint has no clear path to a turnaround that could lead to realizing the full value of its bonds or to recover that value in a restructuring or bankruptcy.

Sprint shares rose 2 percent to $2.50 in New York Thursday after the announcement. The stock has fallen 30 percent this year.

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