United States Cellular Goes Negative

United States Cellular (NYSE: USM  ) reported earnings on Feb. 26. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), United States Cellular met expectations on revenues and missed expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew slightly. Non-GAAP earnings per share dropped to a loss. GAAP earnings per share shrank to a loss.

Margins dropped across the board.

Revenue details
United States Cellular notched revenue of $1.12 billion. The five analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated a top line of $1.13 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at -$0.27. The eight earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.00 per share. Non-GAAP EPS were -$0.27 for Q4 against $0.04 per share for the prior-year quarter. GAAP EPS were -$0.47 for Q4 against $0.03 per share for the prior-year quarter.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 52.4%, 500 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was -3.0%, 480 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was -3.6%, 390 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $1.11 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.46.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $4.11 billion. The average EPS estimate is $1.73.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 37 members out of 59 rating the stock outperform, and 22 members rating it underperform. Among 15 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 10 give United States Cellular a green thumbs-up, and five give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on United States Cellular is hold, with an average price target of $38.43.

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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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