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Comcast Tops Q4 Earnings Forecast on Broadband Strength, Boosts Dividend

Comcast added more broadband customers in the fourth quarter, offsetting a rise in traditional cable customers that helped it beat Wall Street forecasts for earnings and revenues.

Comcast Corp.  (CMCSA)  posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Thursday, and boosted its regular dividend,  as broadband customer additions offset rising customer departures from its cable business.

Comcast said earnings for the three months ending in December came in at 79 cents per share, up 20.3% from the same period last year and 2 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Comcast said, rose 2% to $28.4 billion, against topping analysts' estimates of a $28.18 billion tally.

Video customer losses were a net 149,000 for the quarter, Comcast said, a figure that topped the FactSet estimate by around 10,000. Broadband additions, however, hit 442,000, well ahead of the 378,000 figure analysts were anticipating ahead of the launch of its streaming service, Peacock, on April 15.

 "We delivered strong operational and financial results in the fourth quarter, capping another great year for Comcast, including double-digit growth in full-year adjusted EPS, record free cash flow and 1.4 million broadband net additions in the U.S. Our teams at Cable, NBCUniversal and Sky continued to execute at a high level, strengthening our leadership position in our markets," said CEO Brian Roberts.

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"Underscoring our confidence in the continued success of our company, we are pleased to announce a 10% increase in our dividend, our 12th consecutive annual increase," he added. 

Comcast shares were marked 2.82% lower in early Thursday trading following the earnings release to change hands at $46.09 each.

Comcast said NBCUniversal revenues fell 2.6% to $9.15 billion, while cable communications revenues rose 2.6% to $14.77 billion.