Why Verizon Earnings Look Good to Investors

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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) reported second-quarter 2017 results before markets opened Thursday. The telecom giant posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.96 on revenues of $30.55 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.94 on revenues of $30.53 billion. Analysts were looking for EPS of $0.96 and revenues of $29.91 billion.

On a GAAP basis, EPS totaled $1.07, which included a net gain from the sale of certain data centers and severance charges and acquisition and integration-related charges primarily associated with Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo’s operating business.

Verizon reported a net gain of 614,000 retail postpaid customers. Net phone additions of 358,000 included 590,000 smartphones in the quarter, compared with 86,000 net phone additions, including 336,000 smartphones, in second-quarter 2016. Wireless revenues fell 1.9% year over year in the quarter to $21.3 billion.

Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said:

Verizon reignited its growth engine in the quarter, both adding and retaining wireless customers while scaling our media business and continuing to invest in our superior networks. With record customer loyalty and a clean sweep of third-party network quality results, we’re leading the way to provide customers with next-generation broadband, smart cities, telematics, media and Internet of Things services.

Wireline revenues increased by 1.2% to $7.8 billion, including revenues from recently acquired XO communications. Excluding those revenues, wireline sales fell 2.8% year over year. Verizon added a net of 49,000 Fios Internet connections and lost a net of 15,000 Fios Video connections. At the end of the quarter, Verizon had 5.7 million Fios Internet connections and 4.7 million Fios Video connections, year-over-year increases of 4.4% and 0.6%, respectively.

The company noted that it expects full-year revenues and profits to be roughly comparable with 2016 results. Analysts are estimating third-quarter EPS at $0.96 on revenues of $30.57. For the full year, analysts are looking for EPS of $3.75 and revenues of $122.47. EPS totaled $3.87 in 2016 on revenues of $125.98 billion.

Verizon has been the worst performing Dow Jones index stock for most the year to date, and this morning’s report, as solid as it is, may not be enough to change that. Shares traded up about 2.4% in Thursday’s premarket session to $45.45, after closing last night at $44.40. The stock’s 52-week range is $42.80 to $55.82 and the consensus 12-month price target is $49.27.