Comcast stock surges 32% in one year, moves past Verizon

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast

Delivering a decidedly bullish message for the cable business, Comcast stock has surged 32% in the last year, with the company’s market capitalization moving past Verizon and approaching $200 billion.

As of midday trading Monday, Comcast had a market cap of $197.159 billion, usurping Verizon’s value of $188.453 billion. A decade ago, the No. 1 wireless carrier was worth twice as much as the No. 1 cable operator. 

Comcast’s stock price has increased by 155% in the last five years.

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“It’s an extraordinary turn of events,” said MoffettNathanson’s Craig Moffett, one of a number of telecom industry analysts who delivered bullish assessments  of the cable business to Comcast’s hometown newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, this morning. “This milestone speaks to the company’s decades-long consistency of vision, perseverance, and success as a deal-maker. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that cable has turned out to be a very good business.”

The paper said that investor sentiment has “soured” on Verizon, which gets 80% of its revenue from the competitive wireless business. Comcast and the cable industry, the Inquirer reported, are better positioned for the ongoing bump in consumer broadband demand. Notably, Verizon’s market cap is roughly flat with where it was five years ago. 

“People have been predicting cable’s demise for more than 10 years,” added Kevin Werbach, an associate professor of legal studies at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “But there is a counter view that cable has the best infrastructure for broadband, and that means that ultimately cable wins.”

Added Neil Begley, senior VP with Moody’s Investors Service: “It’s pretty simple. The only ubiquitous network out there that has consistent broadband capacity and speed is the cable network.”