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Comcast cobbles $73.5 profit in qtr.

Cash flow up 21% from QVC

NEW YORK — A $128 million investment gain helped Comcast Corp. post a $73.5 million profit in the first quarter, it said Monday. That compares with an $86 million loss a year earlier.

The cabler’s first-quarter results also showed strength in operations, with cash flow (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) rising 21% to $425.1 million on 9.5% higher revenue of $1.374 billion.

Earnings were boosted by strength in both Comcast’s core cable business as well as its majority-owned QVC shopping channel. Cable cash flow rose 12.5% to $280.5 million on 12% higher revenue of $604.8 million.

Comcast said it added 51,000 digital cable subscribers during the quarter and finished the period with 160,000 digital customers.

QVC quickens cash

QVC, which is 57% owned by Comcast, increased cash flow 37.6% to $131 million on 19% higher revenues of $649.6 million. Comcast said QVC’s improvement reflected strength in its businesses in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

Comcast last week withdrew its $52 billion takeover bid for MediaOne Group, in exchange for an agreement to acquire systems serving 2 million subscribers from AT&T. That deal will lift Comcast’s subscriber base to 8 million.

Comcast split its stock two for one last week, halving its stock price. Comcast stock closed 87 cents to $40.06 Monday.