Charter's Stock Soars On Strong Internet Revenues, Cable Ads Up

Scoring higher-than-estimated fourth-quarter 2018 revenue, including big gains in its broadband business, Charter Communications stock soared on Thursday, up 14% to $40.15 in early-morning trading.

Revenue rose 6% to $11.23 billion on average. Analysts were expecting $11.14 billion.

Net income was at $296 million, down from $9.55 billion a year ago when the company gained -- as did many other companies -- from a big tax benefit.

Charter grew 5% in subscribers for its internet business in the fourth quarter -- 289,000 -- up from the 263,000 gain in the year-ago comparable period.  

Charter now totals 23.6 million internet users. Fourth-quarter revenue was 7.1% higher to $3.9 billion.

At the same time, video subscribers sank 1.8%, with 36,000 subscribers, versus a gain of 2,000 from the same period a year ago. The company now totals 16.1 million subscribers. Video revenue was up 3.4% to $4.4 billion.

Local cable advertising sales grew a massive 34% to $562 million, due to strong midterm elections political advertising. For the 2018 year, ad sales were up 18% to $1.8 billion. Charter’s phone/voice business sank 12.3% to $515 million.

Charter’s programming costs -- its fees to carry TV networks -- was up 5% for all of 2018 to $11.1 billion. Marketing costs were flat at $3 billion.



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