YTD Stock Performance: Flat
Dividend Yield: 5.3%
AT&T (T) has hardly had a great year. In addition to underperforming the market dramatically, it’s also sitting on a loss while some of the other laggards in the Dow have simply posted smaller profits.
What gives? After all, the telecom giant tacked on as much as 25% during a big run last year despite regulators squashing AT&T’s $39 billion buyout of T-Mobile from Deutsche Telecom (DTEGY) … why would things be worse in 2013 than in 2012?
Well, it all boils down to top-line challenges and the problem of growth in a nearly saturated U.S. wireless market coupled with the declining landline business that AT&T was built on.
The good news for long-term shareholders, however, is that a storied history of dividends and high yield means that AT&T could be the best long-term dividend play of the bunch. It might never burn down the house with dramatic share price appreciation, but at over 5% annually in dividends and the prospect of higher payouts given the 44% increase in quarterly payouts over the last decade, AT&T is a slow-and-steady lock for any portfolio.
Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.