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Why CenturyLink Inc. Stock Popped Thursday

Daniel Sparks, The Motley Fool

What happened

Shares of telecom provider CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) climbed on Thursday, rising as much as 13.9%. At the time of this writing, the stock is up 13.2%.

The stock's gain comes after the company reported its second-quarter results. Fueling the market's bullishness toward the stock on Thursday was the company's better-than-expected earnings per share and management's improved outlook for full-year profitability. 

A chart showing a stock price moving higher

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

CenturyLink reported revenue of $5.9 billion, down from $6 billion in the year-ago quarter. The top-line figure was about in line with the consensus analyst forecast for the metric. CenturyLink's earnings per share came in at $0.27, up slightly from what analysts were expecting.

Helping its profitability was its ongoing integration of Level 3 Communications, which CenturyLink acquired last year, management said. The integration "contributed to a solid quarter, with strong growth in Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow," said CenturyLink CEO Jeff Storey.

Now what

Considering its momentum with integration efforts and its focus on profitable revenue growth, management raised its outlook for its adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow for the full year. Management now expects full-year adjusted EBITDA between $9 billion and $9.15 billion and free cash flow between $3.6 billion and $3.8 billion. This revised guidance compares to previous forecasts for 2018 adjusted EBITDA between $8.75 billion and $8.95 billion and free cash flow between $3.15 billion and $3.35 billion.

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Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.