Comcast’s stock price took a hit Thursday after the company’s second quarter earnings report revealed subscriber losses at Peacock and a slowdown in the broadband growth that has been so strong for the cable giant in recent quarters.
Comcast shares were down more than 8% in early trading Thursday following the before-market earnings release and hourlong investor call. The stock fell sharply at the opening and hovered around $39.80 mark. The Dow and NASDAQ also took an early dip after opening the day in green territory. All told, shares were down 9% at the close of trading to $39.41. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 were up and down but closed out the trading day with about a 1% gains apiece.
Comcast’s quarterly performance in other areas will likely satisfy Wall Street, said analyst Craig Moffett in a research note Thursday. “None of that will matter, though. There is only one number that anyone cares about. Zero,” he added, referring to its broadband subscriber base.
The Philadelphia owner of NBCUniversal and the giant Comcast cable business said its high-speed internet customers in the quarter — a key metric –was basically the same as in the previous period., 32.1 million compared with 31.3 million.
“In Cable, we achieved our highest adjusted EBITDA margin on record even amid a unique and evolving macroeconomic environment that is temporarily putting pressure on the volume of our new customer connects,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in a statement.
During an investor call Thursday, he acknowledged that “We are in a unique environment with some headwinds,” and cited factors such as consumers’ move to habits they embraced before the coronavirus pandemic as partially responsible for the broadband performance, along with “seasonality,” which anlaysts took to refer to college students cutting off accounts as they leave for summer vacation. The executive said Comcast expected a “return” to adding broadband subscribers.