Mini-major movie and TV studio Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF.A) (NYSE:LGF.B) roared on Friday, invigorated by a strong second-quarter earnings report. Class A shares rose as much as 13.7%, and the Class B stock topped out at a gain of 13.4%. By 1 p.m. EST, A shares had backed down to a 13% gain, while Lions Gate's B shares settled down at a 12% increase.
Lions Gate saw second-quarter sales rise 9.2% year over year, stopping at $984 million. Adjusted earnings held steady at $0.22 per diluted share. Your average analyst would have settled for a net loss of $0.05 per share on sales of roughly $912 million.
The premium cable network Starz added 1.2 million subscribers during the quarter, landing at a grand total of 5.6 million customers. The big revenue gains followed almost entirely from delivering a large batch of episodes of the award-winning TV series Power. The series runs on Starz and has been seen as an important growth driver for that network throughout its five-season history.
Lions Gate's earnings and sales surprises were very large, and the big jump in share prices makes perfect sense today. Mind you, these stocks have suffered terribly in recent months, and they still trade nearly 60% lower from a 52-week perspective. Lions Gate stands a long way away from a full recovery, trading at deep-discount valuation ratios. The Starz acquisition in 2016 gave Lions Gate an interesting plan for international growth based on streaming video services, but the deal did not trigger any improvements to Lions Gate's bottom line.
One strong earnings report doesn't necessarily change the company's overall trajectory, but you do have to start somewhere.