Should Verizon Get More Credit for Its Q4 Results?

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When Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) reported its most recent quarterly results before the markets opened on Tuesday, the telecom posted $1.12 in earnings per share (EPS) and $34.3 billion in revenue. That compares to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $1.09 in EPS and $34.44 billion in revenue, as well as the $0.86 per share and $33.95 billion posted in the same period of last year.

For its Wireless segment, Verizon reported 1.2 million retail postpaid net additions in the fourth quarter, consisting of 653,000 phone net additions, 11,000 tablet additions and 556,000 other connected devices, primarily wearables. Postpaid smartphone net additions were 873,000, compared with 647,000 in fourth-quarter 2017, a 34.9% increase.

Total Wireline revenues decreased 3.2% year over year in fourth-quarter 2018 to $7.4 billion. Total Fios revenues grew 2.5% year over year, and Verizon added a net of 54,000 Fios Internet connections and lost a net of 46,000 Fios Video connections. At year-end 2018, Verizon had 6.1 million Fios Internet connections and 4.5 million Fios Video connections.

Looking ahead to the 2019 full year, the company expects EPS to be similar to 2018 EPS, with capital spending in the range of $17 billion to $18 billion, including the expanded commercial launch of 5G. Consensus estimates call for $4.73 in EPS and $132.22 billion in revenue for the year.

CEO Hans Vestberg commented:

Verizon finished 2018 by delivering solid financial and operational performance, as evidenced by our strong wireless service revenue and earnings growth. 2018 was a remarkable year full of 5G firsts, including being first in the world to commercially deploy 5G with our 5G Home product. As we head into 2019 and the 5G era, we’re beginning a period of transformational change. We are laser focused on delivering customers a best-in-class and game-changing experience on our networks.

Shares of Verizon were last seen down more than 3% at $53.21 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $46.09 to $61.58. The consensus price target is $59.27.