What: Shares of Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT) gained 16.6% in October, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. As shown in the price chart above, most of the gains came at the very end of the month as Level 3 reported strong third-quarter earnings.
So what: Level 3's adjusted third-quarter earnings came in at $0.48 per diluted share, $0.02 ahead of Wall Street's consensus. Management tightened its full-year EBITDA profit guidance just above the midpoint of the earlier forecast and reiterated free cash flow targets for the fiscal year.
Now what: Emblematic of Level 3's overall performance, Latin American sales fells 9% but would have risen 9% under constant currency conditions. A similar story played out in the larger Europe, Middle East, and Africa segment. In general, enterprise sales showed strong growth while wholesale revenue growth took a breather.
Management sees these themes playing out for the next quarter as well:
"For [Latin America] as a whole, the macro environment continues to be challenging," said Level 3 CEO Jeff Storey in a conference call with analysts. "The demand for our services remains strong and we still see opportunity to grow the business to meet our customers' needs across the region, as we saw from our results this quarter."
So far in 2015, Level 3 has barely edged out the performance of the S&P 500 benchmark. That's still fairly impressive for a company in the wholesale data networking sector, though. Global peer Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) has seen shares sliding 10% lower year to date while American counterpart Cogent Communications (NASDAQ:CCOI) traded down 1.6%. Level 3's 1.3% gain hasn't exactly crushed these rivals, but a win is still a win.