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Verizon Shares Slide on Wider Loss

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Verizon (VZ - Get Report) shares tumbled before market open on Tuesday after the telecom giant reported a wider fourth-quarter loss, weighed down by the impact of pension and restructuring charges.

The New York-based firm reported a loss of $1.48 a share on a net loss of $4.23 billion, compared with a loss of 71 cents a share on a net loss of $2.02 billion in the prior year's quarter. In a statement released before market open, Verizon highlighted the effects of non-cash pension items in both quarters, as well as debt retirement and other restructuring charges in the most recent quarter.

Excluding items, Verizon earned 38 cents a share, which included a 7-cent hit from superstorm Sandy. Analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance were looking for earnings of 50 cents a share. Verizon earned 52 cents a share in the prior year's quarter.

The company's top line, however, came in above Wall Street's forecast. Verizon reported revenue of $30.05 billion, up from $28.44 billion in the same period last year, topping $30 billion for the first time in its history. Analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance were looking for sales of $29.83 billion.

Investors, though, were unimpressed with Verizon's numbers, pushing the company's stock down 2.33% to $41.55.

Verizon's Wireless business brought in total revenue of $20 billion during the fourth quarter, a hike of 9.5% on the prior year's quarter, and added 2.2 million net retail connections. This included a record-high 2.1 million retail postpaid net retail connections.

Within Wireless, average revenue per account was $146.8 per month, a 6.6% increase on the same period last year.

At the end of 2012, the company had 98.2 million retail connections, a 6.6% increase on 2011. This number included 92.5 million retail postpaid connections.

Revenue from Verizon's Wireline business was $10 billion, down 1.5% on the fourth quarter of 2011.

Rival AT&T (T - Get Report) last week announced that it will take a $10 billion fourth-quarter charge related to its pension and benefit plans. AT&T also warned that high smartphone subsidies will pressure the firm's fourth-quarter profit and estimated that the impact of storms, including superstorm Sandy, will reduce its fourth-quarter operating income by around $175 million.

Shares of AT&T, which reports its fourth-quarter results on Thursday, fell 1.26% to $33.02 in per-market trading.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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