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Verizon Q1 Profit Beats Estimates, Lifts FY19 Earnings Outlook

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Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) on Tuesday reported a nearly 11 percent increase in profit for the first quarter from last year on higher wireless revenues and flat expenses. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter beat analysts' estimates, while revenues were in-line with expectations. Looking ahead, the company raised its adjusted earnings outlook for fiscal 2019.

For the first quarter, net income attributable to Verizon rose to $5.03 billion or $1.22 per share, from $4.55 billion or $1.11 per share in the year-ago period.

Excluding a special item, adjusted earnings for the quarter were $1.20 per share, compared to $1.17 per share in the prior-year quarter. The latest quarter's results included a benefit of $0.02 due to a pension re-measurement triggered by the company's Voluntary Separation Program.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.17 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Total operating revenues for the quarter grew 1.1 percent to $32.13 billion from $31.77 billion in the year-ago period, primarily driven by strong wireless service revenue growth. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $32.15 billion.

Wireless revenues rose 3.7 percent from the prior-year period to $22.7 billion, primarily driven by continued strong service revenue performance.

Total wireline revenues decreased 3.9 percent from last year to $7.3 billion, as growth in high-quality fiber products was offset by pricing pressures on legacy products and technology shifts.

Verizon reported 61,000 retail postpaid net additions in the first quarter, consisting of 44,000 phone net losses and tablet net losses of 156,000. This was offset by 261,000 other connected device net additions, primarily wearables. Postpaid smartphone net additions were 174,000.

Verizon added a net of 52,000 Fios Internet connections and lost a net of 53,000 Fios Video connections in the quarter.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, Verizon now expects low single-digit percentage growth in adjusted earnings per share, excluding the impact of the new lease accounting standard. Earlier, the company forecast adjusted earnings per share to be similar to 2018, excluding the impact of the new lease accounting standard.

Verizon projects low single-digit percentage growth in full-year consolidated revenues on a reported basis.

The Street expects the company to report earnings of $4.66 per share for the year on revenues of $131.97 billion.

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