Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL) came in on target Wednesday with First Call's estimates, pulling in second quarter earnings of 75 cents a share, or $1.2 billion, excluding charges.
In the year ago quarter, Bell Atlantic earned 68 cents a share. The growth was attributed to data and wireless services and sustained demand for basic telecommunications, the company said Wednesday. Including charges, Bell Atlantic earned 74 cents a share.
Bell Atlantic plans to buy phone company GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE) for $53 billion. Shares in the U.S. local phone company rose 1/2 to 65 11/16, edging up to their 52-week high of 66 15/16.
Revenue grew 4.6 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, to $8.3 billion. Proportionate revenues, which include the company's share of revenues from its unconsolidated wireless investments, rose 6.3 percent for the quarter.
"We are speeding up our drive into the high-growth markets of the future at the same time we continue to experience solid demand for basic services," said Bell Atlantic Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg in a company release.
Domestic telecom revenues increased 2.8 percent over the second quarter 1998, and overall telecom sales grew 3.2 percent. More than three-quarters of telecom revenue growth came from sales of data services, with digital data revenues for the quarter increasing 26.3 percent over second quarter 1998 to $691 million.
Revenue for Bell Atlantic's Global Wireless Group's also showed big gains, at an increased of 28.3 percent to $1.4 billion over last year's quarter. Global wireless also added a total of 271,000 domestic subscribers in the quarter.
Fourteen out of 26 analysts covering the company rate it a "strong buy" according to Zach's Investment Research. Shares surged earlier in June when Bell was upgraded by two investment houses.
In other earnings news Wednesday:
Revenue exclusive of BigCharts, was $4.4 million, up from $1.3 million a year ago. On a stand-alone basis, MarketWatch served 287 million page views in the second quarter, up 156 percent from a year ago and 22 percent from the second quarter. BigCharts tacked on 23 million page views for the 20 days it was with Marketwatch. Marketwatch reported 3.8 million unique visitors. BigChart users will be counted beginning in July. See full statement.
The results were beat expecations, but revenue was flat. The company, however, noted strong sales of data warehousing products as it phases out its commodity computer lines. See full statement.