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Comcast earnings top estimates for seventh quarter in a row

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acomNEW YORK — Comcast, the largest U.S. and New Mexico cable provider, reported profit that topped estimates for the seventh consecutive quarter and posted its best second-quarter video and high-speed data subscriber numbers in five years.

Net income in the three months through June climbed 29 percent to $1.73 billion, or 65 cents a share, from $1.35 billion, or 50 cents, a year earlier, the company said Wednesday in a statement. The average analyst estimate was for net income of $1.69 billion, or 63 cents a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Comcast gained 187,000 broadband subscribers and lost 159,000 TV customers in a seasonally weak quarter for cable operators as college students disconnect service for the summer vacation. That gave it the best performance in the categories since the second quarter of 2008. The Philadelphia-based company also added 161,000 telephone customers as it continues to market its triple-play offering of TV, phone and Internet.

“It comes down to prudent investment in their service profile,” Todd Mitchell, an analyst at Brean Capital LLC in New York, said in an interview before the results were released. Mitchell has a buy rating on the stock.

Comcast is improving its TV guide for many of its customers by connecting new set-top boxes to the Internet. The cable operator has also invested in mobile rights from its programming partners to give users access to many TV shows and films on the move, helping limit video losses, Mitchell said. Comcast lost 176,000 TV subscribers in last year’s second quarter.

Sales rose 7 percent to $16.3 billion, surpassing the average analyst estimate of $16 billion. NBCUniversal revenue rose 8.9 percent to $6 billion and the division’s operating free cash flow jumped 21 percent to $1.19 billion.

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