News You Need: Verizon, Corning
Verizon ( VZ) squeaked by earnings targets with strong wireless growth. The New York phone giant posted adjusted earnings of $1.78 billion, or 62 cents a share, which is a dime better than the year-ago profit performance. Analysts were expecting 62 cents in pro forma earnings in the fourth quarter. Sales rose 5.5% to $23.8 billion over the $22.6 billion level a year ago. Analysts had been looking for a $24 billion top line, according to Yahoo! Finance. "In the fourth quarter, the momentum of revenue growth and margin expansion continued to drive double-digit earnings growth, and we once again reported strong growth in sales of all our strategic products," CEO Ivan Seidenberg said in a press release.
Verizon Wireless -- jointly owned by Verizon and Vodafone ( VOD) -- continued to show strength even as the industry starts to cool off. Verizon added 1.9 million net new post-paid subscribers in the fourth quarter. The monthly customer defection rate remained at an industry low 1.2%, with post-paid churn slightly below 1%. The company added 226,000 net new FiOS TV customers taking the total to 943,000 at the end of the year. The company says it now has more than 1 million FiOS TV customers. But some observers note that net new broadband numbers were a bit light. Verizon says it added 264,000 fast Internet subscribers with 245,000 taking fiber optic connections. Some had expected broadband customer additions to hit 300,000 for the quarter. Recent reports from rivals like Comcast ( CMCSA) and AT&T ( T)have shown weaker results in their core video and phone businesses due to strong competition and an overall slowdown in the housing market. Verizon's core business continued to erode. Total access lines fell 8.1% to 41.4 million from 45.1 million a year ago as customers disconnect second lines or shift to competing services. Verizon shares rose 14 cents to $37.90 in premarket trading Monday.