Charter Shares Jump After Company Gains Video Customers

Charter Communications Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. cable provider, jumped the most in more than six months after reporting an increase in customers.

Customer relationships rose 99,000 in the first quarter, Charter said today. The St. Louis-based company added 141,000 residential Internet customers and 20,000 video customers. That compares with a loss of 24,000 video subscribers a year earlier.

Charter will continue to promote its “superior” Internet service and improve its video offerings throughout its territories in 25 U.S. states, Tom Rutledge said during his first conference call as chief executive officer. Rutledge took over as Charter’s CEO this year after leaving his job as Cablevision Systems Corp.’s chief operating officer in December.

“It’ll be a superior product to satellite, a superior product to U-verse,” Rutledge said. Charter, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, competes with DirecTV, Dish Network Corp. and AT&T Inc.’s U-verse to provide voice, video and data services.

The shares rose 5.1 percent to $64.97, the biggest one-day gain since Nov. 3. The stock has added 14 percent this year.

The advance may indicate investors are covering their short positions after a “great” subscriber performance, said Rich Tullo, an analyst at Albert Fried & Co. in New York. Tullo estimated Charter would add 40,000 customer relationships and 45,000 Internet customers for the quarter.

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