Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) saw second quarter sales up 3.5% and profits up 14.9% on its earnings release this morning (Tuesday), for an earnings per share (EPS) of $0.76. While Comcast sales were below analyst estimates, according to data from Yahoo! Finance, Comcast stock was still trading up in the morning 1.7% at $54.75.
CMCSA announced $16.8 billion in revenue and $1.99 billion in profits this quarter, both up from the same reporting period last year. The cable industry leader beat the average analyst estimate of $0.72 earnings per share on the quarter, though it fell short of the $16.95 billion revenue estimate and the 4.2% sales growth figure.
Revenue from cable communications increased 5.4% to $11 billion, with the biggest boosts coming from a 9.7% increase in high-speed internet sales and a 22.4% increase in business services revenue.
The cable giant saw its best second quarter for high-speed internet in six years with 203,000 additional customers, while also increasing its home phone service customers by 137,000. However, it shed 144,000 customers from its video subscriber business. Despite the loss of video customers, it was the best performing second quarter for that division of the business in six years.
Here's more on what Comcast's earnings tell investors about the direction of Comcast stock going forward.CMCSA's Long-Term Challenges and Strengths
Looking ahead, Comcast's television business will continue to face challenges because of competition from less traditional services such as Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), according to Morningstar analyst Michael Hodel, though it has to this point held together well.
"Comcast's traditional television business faces threats from emerging video offerings from the likes of Netflix," Hodel wrote in an investment note. "We believe Comcast has responded well to these threats thus far, building new platforms - such as its online site and iPad application - to enhance the options available to customers."
NBCUniversal, the media company that CMCSA owns, saw very modest revenue growth of 0.3%. Its theme park revenue was up 12.8%, because the timing of spring holidays and increased spending per capita helped bolster attendance at Orlando and Hollywood theme parks. Despite this small growth, NBC is still considered an advantage to CMCSA's business model.
"Comcast holds a strong set of assets, against which it has executed exceptionally well in recent years to broaden its capabilities and gain market share," Hodel wrote, and the planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) will only help to expand its impressive arsenal of assets. CMCSA spent $44 million this past quarter related to costs involved with the TWC acquisition, according to the SEC filing.
Broadcast television revenues from NBC were also up 4.9%, but its filmed entertainment division was down a significant 15.3%, holding back Comcast's media subsidiary from strong sales growth. In its filing, CMCSA reported that there were fewer theatrical releases this past quarter compared to last year's quarter.
"We continue to see strong momentum across our cable and content businesses," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CMCSA, Brian Roberts said, according to SEC documents. "We are also pleased with the continued rapid growth of business services, which has quickly become an important engine for the company."
Analysts expect that in its next earnings report, CMCSA will post a 4.8% growth in sales, with $16.93 billion in revenue, and $0.71 EPS, according to Yahoo! Finance.
Analysts have a one-year price target of $61.52 for Comcast stock, a 12% premium to where it's trading now.
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