November 28, 2020

Comcast and CBS Post Strong Results, Aided by Web

Comcast reported that its earnings rose to $1.7 billion from $1.35 billion, or to 65 cents a share from 50 cents a share, in the period a year earlier. The results surpassed analysts’ already sunny earnings projections of 63 cents a share.

Comcast’s strong quarter was spurred by its broadband Internet business and by a rebound, albeit a tepid one, of the NBC broadcast network. This was the first quarter in which Comcast owned 100 percent of NBCUniversal, the network’s corporate parent; it had previously held a 51 percent stake.

The earnings release was celebrated by Wall Street on Wednesday morning, sending Comcast’s stock up more than 5 percent. It closed at $45.08, almost achieving a record high.

After the closing bell, Comcast was joined by the CBS Corporation, the owner of the CBS broadcast network, which reported its highest quarterly profits ever. Earnings there rose to $472 million, or 76 cents a share, from $427 million, or 65 cents a share, in the period a year earlier.

“Double-digit revenue growth — and the best quarterly profits we’ve ever had — add up to a phenomenal quarter for CBS,” the company’s chief executive, Leslie Moonves, said in a statement. On a Wednesday afternoon conference call, the company’s executive chairman, Sumner M. Redstone, who comes up with new ways to praise Mr. Moonves to investors seemingly every quarter, used the term “supergenius.”

CBS’s performance was attributed in part to content licensing deals with online streaming services like Amazon, which has been running repeats of the network’s newest program “Under the Dome” this summer. The company, which has historically depended more on advertising revenue than its peers have, said it had a 22 percent increase in revenue from content licensing and distribution; Mr. Moonves’s statement mentioned that “our non-advertising revenue sources are having a bigger impact on our results all the time.”

The healthy results from both companies may augur more good news when other networks report in the weeks to come.

At Comcast, revenue for the NBCUniversal division — which includes the NBC network, a wide array of cable channels, a movie studio and other assets — was up 8.9 percent year-over-year, to almost $6 billion. Michael McCormack, a media analyst for Nomura, said in a note to investors that NBCUniversal’s performance exceeded expectations, “with filmed entertainment and broadcast television revenue offsetting weaker-than-expected theme parks revenue.”

NBC’s cable channels, including USA, Syfy and Bravo, posted a 7.7 percent increase in revenue, to $2.41 billion in the quarter. Its somewhat smaller broadcast business, which has been undergoing a reorganization, had a 11.6 percent increase, to $1.73 billion. Mr. McCormack attributed the broadcast unit’s gains to “better ratings and higher retransmission consent fees.”

Comcast executives specifically credited “The Voice,” the singing competition on NBC that has given the network some much-needed momentum.

Distribution, not content, remains the biggest part of Comcast’s business. Revenue for the distribution business, called Comcast Cable, was up 5.8 percent year-over-year, to about $10.5 billion, partly because it added 187,000 broadband subscribers in the second quarter.

Comcast has been losing television subscribers to DirecTV and Verizon FiOS for years, and it lost another 159,000 in the second quarter. But the rate of loss has slowed lately, a point the company emphasized again on Wednesday. The company squeezed a 2.7 percent revenue gain from its TV business, largely through rate increases and from subscribers who chose more expensive packages.

“Cable had outstanding growth, particularly in high-speed Internet, and NBCUniversal had strong performance across all of its businesses,” Brian L. Roberts, the chief executive of Comcast, said in a statement.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/business/media/2-media-companies-announce-big-gains-in-profit.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

DealBook: Goldman Profit Reflects Bank Sector’s Strength

The headquarters of Goldman Sachs in New York.Mark Lennihan/Associated PressThe headquarters of Goldman Sachs in Manhattan.

10:01 a.m. | Updated

The spate of strong bank earnings continues.

On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs reported first-quarter profit of $2.2 billion, or $4.29 a share, driven by strength in its investment banking business as well as its investing and lending unit.

Across Wall Street, banks are showing signs of strength. Last week, JPMorgan posted a 33 percent jump in quarterly profit, to $6.53 billion. Profit at Wells Fargo rose 22 percent, to $5.17 billion. Citigroup profit surged by 30 percent while BlackRock earnings were up 10 percent.

Goldman, like other banks, is benefiting from the ongoing improvement in the markets and the economy. While banks are adjusting to new regulation, they are finding new ways to bolster profit and cut costs, helping to drive record profit.

Goldman’s results were up from the year-ago period and well ahead of analysts’ expectations of $3.89 a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Earnings per share were up 9 percent compared with the period a year earlier. Goldman shares, however, were down 2 percent in morning trading to around $143.50 a share on a day when the broader market was up.

Analysts had been anticipating a fairly decent quarter for Goldman, in part because many of its rivals have posted strong results in their investment banking and securities divisions.

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“Our strong client franchise across our businesses drove generally solid results. Still, the potential for macroeconomic instability was felt in the quarter and constrained overall corporate and investor activity. We continue to be very focused on controlling our costs and efficiently managing our capital,” Goldman’s chairman and chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, said in a statement.

The firm reported $10.1 billion in revenue in the quarter ended March 31, almost flat from levels a year ago, when revenue came in at $10 billion. Analysts had been forecasting revenue of $8.35 billion.

Net revenue in Goldman’s powerful division that trades bonds, currencies and commodities was somewhat disappointing after it fell 7 percent, to $3.2 billion, from the period a year earlier. The firm said net revenues were lower in most businesses, “primarily reflecting significantly lower net revenues in interest rate products compared with a strong first quarter of 2012.”

The firm’s investing and lending operations, however, did quite well, posting revenue of $2.07 billion, up 8 percent from the period in 2012. Goldman said this unit benefited from an increase in equity prices and a $24 million gain from the firm’s stake in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, a strategic investment Goldman made in 2006.

Goldman’s investment banking division also weighed in with strong results, as revenue increased 36 percent, to $1.57 billion. The firm said the unit enjoyed a lift from record debt underwriting results as a result of leveraged finance and commercial mortgage-related activity. The bank added that revenue in equity underwriting was also “significantly higher compared with the first quarter of 2012, reflecting an increase in client activity.”

The firm’s annualized return on equity, a key financial measure watched by investors, was 12.4 percent in the quarter, roughly the same as it was in the year-ago period. Although the figure was not as strong as it was before the financial crisis when firms like Goldman were able to produce outsize returns by using unheard levels of borrowed money, it’s still ahead of some of the firm’s rivals.

Goldman is one of a number of Wall Street banks releasing earnings this week. Morgan Stanley will round out bank earnings season on Thursday. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters are expecting that firm to earn 57 cents a share.

Since the financial crisis, Goldman and other firms have been working hard to cut expenses. The bank had 32,000 employees at the end of the quarter, 400 fewer than at the end of 2012.

The firm set aside $4.3 billion to pay employees, or 43 percent of its revenue, which was in line with previous quarters. The compensation amount is set aside quarterly but not paid out until the fourth quarter, when the firm’s full-year results are known.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/goldman-sachss-first-quarter-profit-beats-estimates/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Bucks: Monday Reading: New Ways to Visit Cuba, Legally

July 11

Why Most Investors Don’t Measure Returns Correctly

Money is just one measure of human capital. When you ignore energy, skill and (especially) time, your return calculations will probably be inaccurate.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=c9afb7e0f919f529272e082e49a55baf

Prescriptions: Blue Shield of California Vows to Cap Profits

Blue Shield of California, a not-for-profit health insurer based in San Francisco, is promising to limit its profits and give the bulk of any excess income it makes back to policyholders who are buying coverage.

The insurer’s chief executive, Bruce Bodaken, made the announcement on Tuesday in an opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The insurer has recently come under sharp criticism for steep hikes in the amount it charges for its policies as well as how much it pays Mr. Bodaken.

Blue Shield was an early proponent of an overhaul of the health insurance industry, and the insurer said it knew its decision was not an answer to the problem of how to cover people when the cost of coverage was so high.

In the opinion piece, Mr. Bodaken says the insurer plans to cap its profits at 2 percent of its revenues. If in any given year it makes more money because the cost of providing health care was lower than it expected or because it made more money from its investments, Blue Shield says it will give the excess back to the community.

Blue Shield is starting with the $180 million of excess profits it made last year — $167 million will go to policyholders, $10 million to hospitals and doctors that try new ways of delivering better coordinated care and $3 million to its own foundation.

Will other not-for-profit insurers follow suit?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=2585a4cd968b773f89c2ac68bfd59eb2

Bucks: Tuesday Reading: New Ways to Answer Hospital Patients’ Calls

May 31

Tuesday Reading: New Ways to Answer Hospital Patients’ Calls

New systems for answering hospital patients’ calls, hotels try to get in-room movies right, sleeping under the stars in Manhattan and other consumer-focused news from The New York Times.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=feb21d52f0f34d4c11419a8a0a6911c2