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Netflix, IBM, United All Beat Q4 Estimates

Mark Vickery

Streaming giant Netflix NFLX is the first of the FAANG stocks to report Q4 earnings so far, with headline beats on both top and bottom lines, but worse-than-expected subscriber growth numbers. Earnings of $1.30 per share was way ahead of the 51 cents in the Zacks consensus, but this is attributed to a one-time windfall associated with a tax accrual. Revenues in the quarter of $5.47 billion outpaced the estimated $5.44 billion, which itself was up 30% year over year.

Shares initially fell 3.6% on the earnings release, based on U.S. and Canada net adds of 550K, lower than expected. Further, guidance for Q1 was light -- 7 million now estimated is well off the pace of 8.5 million analysts were looking for. Average revenue per user (ARPU) also came in on the low side. That said, global net adds beat expectations to 8.76 million, and CEO Reed Hastings points out Netflix grew its subscriber numbers even as Disney+ came on the market in Q4. Shares are now up 0.4% in late trading.

IBM Corp. IBM shares are up 4% in late trading Tuesday after posting its beat on top and bottom lines: $4.71 per share on $21.78 billion marked a routine 2-cent beat on earnings, but the revenue beat connotes the first time in the past 5 quarters Big Blue has posted a positive revenue surprise. Listeners to the conference call will determine the progress of IBM's Red Hat acquisition regarding its key cloud-service business. Guidance for Q1 2020 is also up.

United Air Lines UAL posted modest beats on its earnings and sales for Q4: $2.67 per share beat by 3 cents on $10.89 billion revenues, which modestly surpassed expectations. The airline major was able to keep its Q4 cost metric down to 2.7% in the quarter, beneath the earlier projected 3.5%. However, shares are down after hours by 4.3%.

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