Is Verizon Back on Track?

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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) released its first-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday. The telecom giant said that it had $1.17 in earnings per share (EPS) on $31.8 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $1.11 in EPS on revenue of $31.22 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $0.95 and $29.81 billion in revenue.

A few highlights Verizon reported from its segments:

  • Wireless had 260,000 retail postpaid net additions, including 220,000 postpaid smartphone net adds. Ultimately total revenue growth was 4.7%.
  • Wireline had 66,000 Fios Internet net adds and lost 22,000 Fios Video connections. Total Fios revenue growth was 1.9%.

In Verizon’s media business, Oath, gross revenues decreased sequentially about 13% from fourth-quarter 2017 to $1.9 billion due to seasonally lower display advertising performance. According to Verizon, the integration of the Oath assets is accelerating its mobile-first media strategy and positioning it for global reach and future growth from premium content distribution and programmatic advertising capabilities across key verticals.

In terms of the outlook, the company expects to see low single-digit percentage growth in EPS and revenue growth in the low single-digit range for the 2018 full year. The consensus estimates are $4.53 in EPS on $128.25 billion in revenue for the full year.

Cash flow from operations totaled $6.6 billion during first quarter 2018, up $5.3 billion year over year. Cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.92 billion at the end of the quarter, down from $2.08 billion at the end of the same period last year.

Lowell McAdam, board chair and chief executive, commented:

We began 2018 with strong momentum, and we expect it to continue throughout the year. We are positioning Verizon for long-term growth while executing our strategy today and leading the way for the next cycle of growth for the industry.

Shares of Verizon closed Monday at $48.66, with a consensus analyst price target of $56.08 and a 52-week range of $42.80 to $54.77. Following the announcement, the stock was up over 3% at $50.30 in early trading indications Tuesday.

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