Comcast profits up as cap spending drops

Update: Inquirer story here

Earlier: Comcast reports higher first-quarter profits and cash flow, "powered primarily by falling capital spending," according to Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett. Comcast says it paid $925 million for equipment last quarter, vs. $1.16 billion a year ago, as it nears completion of its all-digital networks. Moffett expects this spending will continue to drop, boosting cash flow, which he hopes will eventually make it to investors as higher dividends or share buybacks.

Meanwhile, "growth looks good," as cable slowly wins back market share from Verizon FiOS and other phone companies, Moffett adds. Comcast lost 82,000 cable video viewers during the quarter, vs. an expected 130,000. Elsewhere it gained: a net 399,000 new high-speed Internet customers, 273,000 phone customers, plus more business customers. Advertising recovered, boosting programming profits at minor-sports channel Verus and other Comcast cable networks, as the company presses its planned purchase of NBC Universal.