CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) reported earnings on Feb. 15. Here are the numbers you need to know.

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

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased significantly and GAAP earnings per share shrank significantly.

Margins shrank across the board.

Revenue details
CenturyLink chalked up revenue of $4.65 billion. The 14 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see revenue of $4.62 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were much higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.72 billion.

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

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.24. The 17 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.56 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.18 for Q4 were 76% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.74 per share.

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 57.9%, 880 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 12.8%, 1,810 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 2.3%, 1,080 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $4.61 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.56.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $18.25 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.24.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 535 members out of 577 rating the stock outperform, and 42 members rating it underperform. Among 188 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 175 give CenturyLink a green thumbs-up, and 13 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on CenturyLink is outperform, with an average price target of $43.06.

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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. 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.