Shares of cable giant Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) rose as much as 7% higher on Wednesday morning, following the company's release of strong fourth-quarter results. By 2:30 p.m. EST, Comcast's stock had cooled down to a 4.3% gain.
In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, Comcast posted earnings of $0.62 per share on $27.9 billion in top-line sales. Your average Wall Street analyst would have settled for earnings near $0.62 per share on sales in the neighborhood of $27.6 billion.
The recently closed acquisition of European cable titan Sky contributed $5.0 billion to Comcast's fourth-quarter revenue, and $765 million to the company's EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) profits. As a whole, Comcast generated $8.2 billion of EBITDA in the fourth quarter.
Comcast lost 38,000 cable-TV customers in the fourth quarter, but made up for that loss with 350,000 net new broadband internet subscribers. The NBCUniversal content studio enjoyed 7% year-over-year revenue growth thanks to modest gains in the cable and broadcast TV subdivisions, and nearly tripled theatrical revenues on the back of the Halloween and Dr. Seuss' The Grinch monster hits.
The stock now trades at 13.1 times Comcast's free cash flow, after falling 18% lower in the last 52 weeks. I'm not surprised to see Comcast investors breathing a deep sigh of relief over these solid results, including a healthy contribution from the $39 billion Sky buyout.