What happened

Shares of Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ:CNSL) jumped 26.3% on Thursday after the broadband provider announced better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2019 results.

So what

Consolidated Communications' quarterly revenue fell 4% year over year to $331 million, translating to adjusted (non-GAAP) net income of roughly $670,000, or $0.01 per share, swinging from a $0.09-per-share loss in last year's fourth quarter. Most analysts were forecasting an adjusted loss of $0.02 per share on revenue of $329.7 million.

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CEO Bob Udell lauded the relative consistency and stability of both their revenue and adjusted EBITDA -- which dropped a modest 1.1% to $130.9 million this quarter -- adding that consumer broadband revenue rose 1.4% while commercial and carrier data-transport revenue gained 2%. At the same time, Udell credited "disciplined cost management and process improvements" for driving a 10.4% reduction in operating expenses during the quarter.

Now what

For the full-year 2020, Consolidated Communications expects adjusted EBITDA to remain roughly flat at a range of $520 million to $525 million (from $523.5 million last year), while free cash flow should increase to a range of $145 million to $155 million (from $121.6 million in 2019).

In the end, Consolidated Communications' headline numbers weren't exactly jaw-dropping. But with shares of the beaten-down tech stock still reeling from their steep post-earnings decline last April, these stable results were exactly what investors needed to see.

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