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Verizon beats earnings expectations, gives upbeat outlook

Verizon Communications Inc. exceeded earnings estimates for the most recent quarter while giving an upbeat earnings outlook for the full year ahead.

The company posted net income of $4.74 billion, or $1.11 a share, roughly flat with the $4.72 billion, or $1.11 a share, that it reported in the year-earlier quarter. On an adjusted basis, Verizon VZ, -0.38% earned $1.31 a share, up from $1.21 a share a year prior, whereas analysts tracked by FactSet were projecting $1.28 a share.

Verizon’s revenue dropped to $34.1 billion from $34.7 billion, matching the FactSet consensus that called for $34.1 billion.

Consumer wireless service revenue rose to $14.6 billion in the fourth quarter, marking a 7.7% increase over the year-earlier total. Verizon said the rise captured “ongoing step-ups to unlimited and premium unlimited plans” as well as contributions from its acquisition of Tracfone that closed late last year.

For the full year, Verizon expects organic service and other revenue growth of about 3%. On a reported basis, including the impact of the company’s sale of Verizon Media and its ownership of TracFone, the company anticipates organic service and other revenue growth of 1% to 1.5%.

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Verizon also projects reported wireless service revenue growth of 9% to 10%. Excluding the impact of its TracFone acquisition, Verizon expects wireless service revenue to increase at least 3%.

The company models adjusted earnings per share of $5.40 to $5.55 for the full year. Analysts tracked by FactSet were projecting $5.36 a share.

Starting in 2022, the company plans to exclude amortization of intangible assets related to acquisitions in its adjusted EPS metric. In 2021, intangible amortization had a roughly 11-cent negative impact on adjusted EPS, and Verizon estimates an impact of roughly 17 cents to 19 cents for 2022.

The report comes after Verizon and peer AT&T Inc. agreed to limit 5G near some airports amid a dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration. Verizon also was absent from the list of winning bidders on a recent 5G spectrum auction held by the Federal Communications Commission; Verizon had been the largest bidder at the prior major auction, which commanded higher spending.

Verizon are up 0.7% on a three-month basis, while the SPDR Communication Services Select Sector XLC, +0.73% exchange-traded fund has declined 9.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.29%  has dipped 3.9%.

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