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Verizon Off Even as Profit and Outlook Beat Estimates

Verizon slipped even after the telecom and media giant reported earnings and an outlook that were stronger than analysts expected.
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Verizon  (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report shares slipped on Tuesday even after the telecommunications and media giant reported fourth-quarter earnings and an outlook that were stronger than analysts expected.

Net income at the New York company registered $4.72 billion, or $1.11 a share, down from $5.22 billion, or $1.23, in the year-earlier quarter. 

The latest adjusted earnings per share were $1.21, up from $1.13 a year earlier and above the $1.17 forecast by analysts.

Revenue totaled $34.69 billion in the quarter, eased from $34.78 billion in the year-ago quarter but above the FactSet analyst consensus of $34.45 billion.

For all of 2021, Verizon predicted adjusted earnings of $5 to $5.15 a share, beating analysts’ estimate of $4.93. 

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Verizon expects capital spending of $17.5 billion to $18.5 billion this year. That includes growth of 5G service, making the wireless network more dense to manage future traffic demands, and continuing to deploy the company’s fiber infrastructure.

In the fourth quarter, Verizon’s media unit enjoyed its first quarter of revenue growth since it bought Yahoo in 2017. It attributed the gain to strong advertising trends.

Wireless-service revenue increased. Revenue from wireless equipment and legacy wireline products dipped.

“Verizon finished the fourth quarter with strong financial performance," Chief Executive Hans Vestberg said in a statement. 

The company's 2020 "was marked by transformational change, including the launch of our 5G nationwide network. We witnessed a mass shift toward virtual collaboration, touchless retail and delivery, remote work, distance learning, and telemedicine. … Today, we are excited to lead technological advances beyond mobile devices.”

Verizon stock recently traded at $57.75, down 1.2%. It had climbed 2% in the week through Monday.