Telecommunications giant AT&T (NYSE:T) should be a darling of the markets, but it’s not. For the past five months, T stock has been “dead money,” temporarily robbing investors of their wealth.
In my view, AT&T is a company with staying power and global recognition, which deserves better treatment by Wall Street. The shares of its stock can be handed down to your children and grandchildren with confidence because AT&T has rock-solid businesses.
As we’ll discuss momentarily, T stock should also be a core portfolio holding because it provides healthy dividend payments. Thus, over time, you can leverage the magic of compounding to build wealth with the stock.
And if you’re concerned about the state of AT&T’s businesses, don’t worry. A recent update from one of the conglomerate’s high-level executives should assure the skeptics that AT&T’s global footprint will remain intact for the foreseeable future.
A Closer Look at T Stock
On May 10, T stock hit a 52-week high of $33.88. It’s still possible for the shares to reach that level again in 2021, though it’s becoming less likely with each passing day.
Momentum-focused investors might point out that AT&T’s stock price has been declining for five years.
After printing a series of lower highs, the stock has fallen from $43 in the summer of 2016 to a mere $26.03 as of yesterday’s close.
On the other hand, value hunters may choose to view the situation through a different lens. Specifically, they may think that T stock has plenty of room to advance, not only to the $43 level from five years ago, but also to the $50+ level, which it reached in the year 2000.
Over the long-term, it’s entirely possible that T stock will double. But even if that doesn’t happen, you can collect dividend payments along the way, since the stock pays a forward annual dividend yield of 7.62%. However, it’s important to note that the company is expected to reduce its dividend by almost 50% around the middle of next year.
A Bear Turns Neutral
AT&T is such an obviously worthy investment now that a former bear has actually given the telecom firm an upgrade. Just recently, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett upgraded his rating on T stock from “sell” to “neutral.” In defense of the upgrade, Moffett wrote, “AT&T’s valuation, at last, more appropriately reflects its prospects.”
Apparently, this analyst sees the silver lining in the beatdown of T stock. AT&T’s relative price-earnings ratio is “as cheap as it has ever been,” Moffett observed, adding that this is a reason why some bulls see the shares as “an interesting contrarian long.”
Wrapping up his note, Moffett writes that “the bloodletting has been enough to move to a neutral posture.” I hope that more Wall Street experts soften their bearish stance towards AT&T.
Expanding the Footprint
In case Moffett’s lukewarm endorsement wasn’t enough to motivate you to consider T stock, a fresh update from AT&T CEO John Stankey ought to get the job done.
First of all, Stankey bragged about his company’s wireless network – and rightfully so. AT&T’s network is performing as well as ever, Stankey observed, as it recently earned recognition as the Nation’s Best 5G Network. Plus, for the fourth straight year, AT&T’s wireless network was deemed America’s Best Wireless Network overall.
Next, regarding HBO Max, Stankey assured the company’s shareholders that AT&T remains focused on expanding the network’s global footprint. HBO Max launched in 39 Latin America territories in June, and it’s set to debut in six European countries next month. Plus, it plans to introduce HBO Max into least 14 additional European nations next year.
On top of all that, Stankey reassured AT&T’s shareholders about supply chain disruptions related to his company’s wired communications business. The CEO believes that this issue has been addressed, and he continues to expect its network to reach 30 million locations by the end of 2025.
The Bottom Line
So an analyst has moved from bearish to neutral on T stock, and its CEO released encouraging data points. This news certainly enhances the bullish thesis on T stock. We can also cite AT&T’s generous dividend payouts, along with the stock’s ultra-low valuation, as positive attributes of the shares .
Altogether, we’ve painted a picture of a huge, diversified telecommunications business that’s under-appreciated by the markets. Investors have a terrific opportunity to buy the shares.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.