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Cable companies are rubbing analysts the right way these days with both Cogeco Cable [CCA/TSX] and Shaw Communications (NYSE:SJR) expected to post solid results when they report third-quarter numbers Friday and July 13, respectively. RBC Capital Markets analyst Jonathan Allen named the two companies, along with Rogers Communications and Quebecor (NASDAQ:IQW), as his top cable picks since all four have a rosy future.

"The next big catalyst for cable stocks will come when operating/capex pressure abates and free cash flow expands significantly in the next 1-2 years," he wrote in a note to clients.

Cogeco's operations in Portugal may be hurt somewhat by the strong Canadian dollar in future quarters, Mr. Allen wrote, but the company's strong Canadian business should offset those issues. Mr. Allen has an "outperform" rating on Cogeco with a 12-month price target of C$49.

Shaw, meanwhile, could post surprisingly strong additions in cable telephony customers. Mr. Allen also rates Shaw "outperform" with a price target of C$51.

Source: Quebecor, Shaw Among RBC's Top Cable Picks