Verizon Communications (VZ) on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings that met estimates while its 2023 earnings outlook missed. VZ stock fell amid expectations more aggressive wireless promotions will impact 2023 profit.
For the December quarter, Verizon earnings were $1.19 an adjusted share, down 10% from a year earlier, excluding items. Revenue rose 3.5% to $35.3 billion.
A year earlier, Verizon earned $1.31 a share on revenue of $34.1 billion. Analysts had projected Verizon earnings of $1.19 a share on revenue of $35.1 billion for the quarter.
Further, Verizon said it added 217,000 postpaid wireless phone subscribers, versus analyst estimates for a gain of 201,000, including consumer and business subscribers. Verizon added 41,000 consumer subscribers in the fourth quarter. In the September quarter, Verizon lost 89,000 consumer lines.
On the stock market today, Verizon stock plunged 2.5% to 38.64 in premarket trading. Heading into the Verizon earnings report, VZ stock had edged up 1.6% in 2023.
VZ Stock: 2023 Guidance Misses
For 2023, Verizon said it expects adjusted per-share earnings of $4.70 at the midpoint of guidance. Verizon did not provide a total revenue outlook. It forecast wireless service revenue growth of 3.5% versus estimates of 2.5% growth.
VZ stock analysts polled by FactSet had estimated 2023 earnings at $4.96 per share with revenue edging up 1.2%.
Verizon forecast adjusted EBITDA — earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — in a range of $47 billion to $48.5 billion, missing estimates. Analysts had predicted adjusted EDITDA growth of 1.5% to $48.7 billion.
Verizon in December shook up its consumer wireless business. Verizon let go of Manon Brouillette, who joined the company in June 2021 and was promoted to chief executive of the consumer business in January 2022. Chief Executive Hans Vestberg took over Brouillette’s duties.
Rival AT&T (T) reports fourth-quarter earnings early Wednesday. AT&T’s free cash flow outlook will be key, analysts say. AT&T stock lost a fraction.
Verizon stock retreated 24% last year. VZ stock holds a Relative Strength Rating of 29 out of a possible 99, according to IBD Stock Checkup.
Follow Reinhardt Krause on Twitter @reinhardtk_tech for updates on 5G wireless, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and cloud computing.
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