Stocks To Watch: Virgin Media, Level 3 Communications, CenterPoint Energy, Sprint Nextel and Aetna
Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED) shares lost 2.43% to US$23.28 on over 6.80 million shares, compared to its average volume of 3.20 million shares. Last week, the company Usain Bolt boosted Virgin Media Inc.'s subscriber numbers in the first quarter, as an ad campaign fronted by the sprinter helped attract 21,200 net cable customers, 6,000 more than in the last quarter of 2011. Virgin Media has been focusing on attracting business customers to its cable network, an area that could become more competitive if mobile operator Vodafone succeeds in buying Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Virgin Media Inc. is engaged in entertainment and communications business. The company has two segments: Consumer and Business. The company is a provider of broadband Internet, television, mobile telephony and fixed line telephony services that offer a range of entertainment and communications services to residential and commercial customers throughout the United Kingdom.
Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE:LVLT) soared 5.07% to US$25.49 on over 7.56 million shares, compared to its average volume of 2.28 million shares. The company said that net loss for the first quarter narrowed to US$138 million, or 66 cents per share, from US$231 million, or US$1.15 per share, a year ago. Analysts expected a loss of 60 cents per share. Revenue at the company was nearly flat at US$1.59 billion, in line with analysts' estimates. Core network service revenue from enterprise customers increased 11 percent to US$1.382 billion in the first quarter. Level 3 said it continued to expect core network services revenue to grow sequentially for the rest of the year. Excluding repayment of debt, Level 3 posted a loss of 37 cents per share. Level 3 Communications, Inc. (Level 3) is a facilities-based provider of a range of integrated communications services. The company provides a range of communications services, which includes transport, infrastructure and data services-including, among services, Internet access and Internet protocol (IP) and Ethernet Virtual Private Networks, broadband transport services.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CNP) was down 1.65% to US$19.72 on over 10.01 million shares, compared to its average volume of 3.71 million shares. The company reported its first quarter 2012 results. During the quarter, adjusted earnings were 33 cents per share, in line with analysts’ estimates. CenterPoint Energy’s total revenues for the reported quarter fell 19.4% to US$2.08 billion year over year. During the quarter, the segment generated operating income of US$107 million, up 5.9% year over year. The current year operating income includes US$70 million from the regulated electric transmission & distribution utility operations (“TDU”) and US$37 million from securitization bonds, both up from the previous year quarter. CenterPoint Energy reported cash and cash equivalents of US$1.1 billion at the end of the reported quarter versus only US$0.095 billion at the end of the previous year period. Total long-term debt was US$9 billion compared with US$8.7 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2011.
Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) lost 3.50% to US$2.48 on over 30.78 million shares, compared to its average volume of 51.72 million shares. Last week, the company’s first quarter loss below analysts’ estimates driven by strong performance at wireless segment. The company reported a loss of US$863 million, or 29 cents per share, compared to a year ago loss of US$439 million, or 15 cents a share. Revenue during the quarter grew 5% to US$8.7 billion from US$8.3 billion. Analysts were projecting the company to report a loss of 42 cents a share on revenue of US$8.71 billion. The company said that while its Sprint network added 263,000 new subscribers in the quarter it lost 455,000 customers on its Nextel iDen network, which it is shutting down. Sprint projects 2012 adjusted OIBDA to be at the high end of its previously announced forecast of between US$3.7 billion and US$3.9 billion. It forecast full-year net service revenue growth of 4 percent to 6 percent and said full-year capital expenditures would be about US$6 billion. In the latest quarter, the iPhone effect faded a bit, and Sprint missed analyst expectations for an all-important figure: The number of new subscribers under contract. It lost a net 192,000, including Nextel. Looking solely on the Sprint side, the net gain was 263,000, up just a smidge from last year’s figure.
Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) fell 2.05% to US$44.01 on over 6.63 million shares, compared to its average volume of 4.63 million shares. The company reported a first quarter performance that missed Wall Street expectations, and it failed to raise its 2012 earnings forecast. The company said that earnings fell 13 percent and reaffirmed that it expects 2012 adjusted earnings, which exclude capital gains or losses, of about US$5 per share. That falls about 15 cents below analysts' expectations. In the quarter, Aetna's net income fell to US$511 million, or US$1.43 per share. That's down from US$586 million, or US$1.50 per share, a year ago. Revenue excluding capital gains climbed 6 percent to US$8.86 billion, above the US$8.61 billion analysts’ estimates.