NEW YORK (
) -- Media sector companies
traded higher today on the strength of strong earnings and, in the case of Time Warner, the announcement of a cash dividend.
Comcast shares are up almost 3% today after the
While the company saw third quarter earnings fall 8.2% from 2009, earnings from continuing operations were 34 cents per share, beating analyst estimates of 30 cents.
Revenue rose 7.1% during the quarter on a boost from its cable segment. Cable revenue was up 6.9%, attributed to a 55% increase in business services and a 27% increase in advertising revenue, as well as growth in subscriber levels.
In an October 28 report, analysts at Deutsche Bank reaffirmed a buy rating for Comcast, and said it was its "pay TV top pick."
Deutsche Bank said that the company's valuation is "remarkable," citing its deal with GE as one of the stock's catalyst. It said that Comcast will likely benefit from the deal's close within the next few months, and that NBCU's growth "could impress." The firm also looks to Comcast's potential for higher return of capital in 2011 and its strong small and medium enterprise growth.
Well Fargo also confirmed its buy rating for the cable company, explaining that it will benefit from the upcoming elections, the close of the NBC Universal transaction and enhanced capital returns after its deal with General Electric is final.
However, Barclay Capital rated shares a hold in an October 27 report. Barclay analyst James Ratcliffe expects shares to trade roughly flat to down modestly, as "results were in line and shares have been strong of late." Comcast shares are up 9% in the past two weeks.
is seeing its shares climb almost 3% today to around $32.30 after the company's board of directors announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.2125 per share on its common stock.
Time Warner will pay out on December 15 this year to stockholders who own stock by November 30.
The media and entertainment company is scheduled to report its third quarter financial results on November 3. Analysts expect earnings to come in at 53 cents per share, down from last year's earnings of 61 cents per share.
Meanwhile, the standoff between
to pay the same rate that Fox charges Time Warner Cable to carry Fox 5 in New York and Fox 29 in Philadelphia for one year.
Cablevision made the offer in an effort to bring the battle between the two companies to an end prior to the first game of the World Series, which started Wednesday evening.
Ratcliffe said that Cablevision could lose 30,000 video customers as a result of the standoff. His estimate is double his previous forecast of a loss of 15,000.
Cablevision shares are down more than 1% today to around $26.70. The company is scheduled to release its third quarter financial result on November 4.
-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
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