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Comcast gains video subs in 4Q

Jan. 29, 2014 @ 07:12 AM

PHILADELPHIA — Com­cast Corp. added 43,000 video subscribers in the fourth quar­ter — the first quarterly gain in six and a half years — as the nation’s top cable TV com­pany said that uptake of its X1 set-top box helped it retain customers and boost video-on­demand spending.

Net income in the three months through December rose 26 percent to $1.91 billion, or 72 cents per share, from $1.52 billion, or 56 cents per share a year ago. However, the increase was partly due to a one-time tax windfall of $158 million.

Excluding the tax gain, earnings per share came to 66 cents, slightly below the 68 cents per share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $16.93 billion, beating the $16.65 billion expected by ana­lysts.

Philadelphia-based Comcast is rolling out its X1 platform to new customers who sign up for at least three services — Inter­net, video and voice — and to other top customers where it has supplies. The set-top box allows users to navigate a slick interface like a website which can be controlled through mobile device apps and gives access to more content deliv­ered via the Web. For the upcoming Winter Olympics from Sochi, for example, Com­cast is bringing the breadth of NBC’s live online coverage to big screen TVs for the first time through the X1 platform.

DuPont 4Q profit up, plans share buyback

DOVER, Del. — The DuPont Co. on Tuesday cred­ited a gradually improving global economy for a sharp increase in its fourth-quar­ter profit, and the chemicals giant announced a new $5 billion share repurchase pro­g ra m .

DuPont’s adjusted earnings beat Wall Street expectations, but revenue fell short. Its shares slipped in afternoon trading amid a broader mar­ket uptick.

The company pointed to volume growth and increased margins as well as a lower tax base in reporting fourth-quar­ter earnings of $185 million, or 20 cents per share, double the $92 million, or 9 cents per share, earned in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Its adjusted earnings per share 59 cents beat the 55 cents consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Ford finishes ’13 strong, but faces a tough year

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. enjoyed one of the best years in its history in 2013, but the celebration won’t last long.

The Dearborn-based automak­er posted a pretax profit of $8.56 billion — the second-highest in the past decade — and world­wide sales were up 12 percent to 6.3 million cars and trucks. That was a faster pace than Toyota, the industry leader, whose sales rose 2 percent to 9.98 million.

But Ford has already warned of leaner results this year as it launches a record 23 vehicles and builds seven plants around the world. It’s anticipating 13 weeks of expensive down time — up from five in 2013 — at its two U.S. pick­up truck plants to prepare for the launch of a new aluminum-clad F-150. And instability in South America and price competition in the U.S. are constant threats.

Ford expects pretax profit of between $7 billion and $8 billion, and says its operating margin and cash flow will also fall because of the vehicle-introduction costs.

Ford’s fourth-quarter net income totaled $3 billion, or 74 cents per share. Excluding a big tax gain, net income was 31 cents per share, 4 cents better than analyst estimates, according to FactSet.

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