Verizon Shares Dip After Mixed Q4 Results

Wireless revenue flat as cash flow rises; Fios video subscriber losses increase
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Verizon shares were down nearly 4% Tuesday after the telecom giant reported mixed Q4 results.

Verizon shares were priced at $52.97 each in early trading Tuesday, down 3.8% or $2.10 per share. The stock ticked up slightly later in the day, closing at $53.28 each, down 3.25%, on Jan. 29.

Revenue at Verizon’s wireless unit was flat but cash flow rose a strong 9.7% to $10.4 billion in the quarter. Its Fios Internet unit added 54,000 customers in the period, helping to drive overall Fios revenue up 2.5%. Customer losses at its Fios video segment increased to 46,000 from a 29,000 decline in the prior year, reflecting the growing trend of customers shifting to streaming video services. At year-end 2018, Verizon had 6.1 million Fios Internet connections and 4.5 million Fios Video connections.

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In a research note, Evercore ISI media analyst Vijay Jayant wrote that despite the pay TV miss -- he had estimated Fios TV would lose about 25,000 customers -- Verizon’s results were in line with expectations.

But he expected that the lower subscriber numbers would concern some investors and could affect the stock at least in the short term.

“Verizon shares have benefited from ‘safe haven’ status in a choppy market (especially given the uncertainty around AT&T),” Jayant wrote. “We don’t see results here that are likely to push street numbers higher, and believe lighter service revenue might concern investors.” 

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