Shares of Paramount Global shot up 10% in morning trading Friday after the company reported solid Q3 results and said it is moving toward streaming profitability.
The stock gained $1.23. or 10.3%, to $13.15, after early reaching as high as $13.49. Shares remain down about 31% since the start of the year.
The media conglomerate late Thursday reported net income of $295 million, or 43 cents per share, for its third quarter of 2023, up 28% from a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share rose to 30 cents, steaming past the 9 cents per share analysts were expecting, according to Zacks Investment Research.
Revenue rose 3% year over year to $7.13 billion, just short of Wall Street projections.
The direct-to-consumer division, which includes Paramount+ and free ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV, added 2.7 million subscribers while growing revenue 38% year over year to $1.69 billion, shrinking its losses by 31% from last year to $238 million.
CEO Bob Bakish said during the conference call to discuss results that the company believes “2022 was our year of peak streaming investment, meaning D2C losses in 2023 will be lower than in 2022.”
Traders applauded the idea that the business has turned the corner by sending the stock higher, but analysts remained cautious.
“Paramount’s direct-to-consumer streaming business underpinned the firm’s excellent third-quarter sales and profits, and it buoyed market enthusiasm for the segment,” Morningstar analyst Matthew Dolgin wrote in a note. “It’s much too early to declare success for Paramount’s streaming business, but we believe the cloud that has been overshadowing the firm’s value is starting to lift,” he wrote.
Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar raised the firm’s price target on Paramount to $12 from $11, meaning the firm still expects the shares to drop over the next year, and kept an “Underweight,” or “Sell” rating on the shares. The analyst wrote that the results contained positive surprises but were helped by unique factors, according to TheFly.com, and said the impact on cash flow from DTC improvement “will be limited.”
UBS also lowered its price target, according to TheFly, to $11 from $14 and kept a “Sell” rating on the stock, calling the Q3 results “mixed,” and firecasting more advertising declines in the traditional TV business the last three months of the year.
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