Poor Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) can't buy a break.

On Thursday, the company reported earnings of $967 million, or $0.33 per share, compared with $632 million, or $0.21 a share, in the year-ago quarter. That, if you're keeping track of the math, was growth of 53% on the net income line. The expectation among the analysts who follow the company was that the quarter would come in at $0.26 a share. At the same time, the company's revenues grew by 4.5% to $8.94 billion.

But despite these solid figures, the company's shares lost a penny on the day, finishing at $15.05. That figure compares with $16.66, the dividend-adjusted level at which the shares began the year.  

It's seemingly always been that way for the cable guys. About three years ago, for instance, when Comcast was chalking up solid numbers, its shares responded -- temporarily -- only to fall back to earth at the first sign of mortality. On Thursday, despite the revenue and earnings growth, the company's apparent kiss of death was a loss of 2.7% of its video customers, as the country's economic difficulties took their toll on more parsimonious subscribers.

Never mind that the company added 6.7% to its high-speed Internet customer lineup. And beyond that, the number of telephone customers grew by a healthy 23.9% from the quarter a year ago.

For a long time, investors have operated under the assumption that the cable companies -- Comcast, along with Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) and more recently Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) -- would become victims of the likes of satellite operators DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH). And now the fearsome twosome is Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T), both of which are offering their own packages that are competitive with cable's triple play. Indeed, if you add in wireless service, the telephone companies are able to offer quadruple plays.

Yet, despite its impressive metrics for the quarter, my inclination is still to give Comcast a relatively wide berth. Given our economic woes, I'm willing to bet that subscriber growth will come slowly and painfully. And after all, the company, despite its quality management, hasn't come close to shooting the lights out thus far in 2009.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned above. He does, however, welcome your questions or comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.