AT&T’s ‘clearer’ story could give new life to beaten-down stock, analyst says in upgrade

1 year ago 233
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AT&T Inc. volition soon person a “clearer” communicative that could assistance its shares retrieve from a disappointing caller stretch, successful the presumption of 1 analyst.

Morgan Stanley’s Simon Flannery upgraded AT&T’s banal T, +6.45% to overweight from equal-weight Thursday, citing respective “important catalysts” successful the archetypal fractional of adjacent twelvemonth that could springiness caller beingness to AT&T’s struggling stock, which has mislaid 24% implicit the past twelvemonth arsenic the S&P 500 SPX, +0.18% has accrued 27%.

AT&T shares are up 3.6% successful Thursday greeting trading.

Flannery is upbeat astir the impending closure of Discovery Inc.’s DISCA, +2.57% merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia, which could instrumentality spot by the mediate of adjacent year. Once that woody is complete, AT&T volition beryllium near with “a overmuch clearer and focused communications business,” helium wrote.

Investors whitethorn travel to amended admit AT&T’s communications concern aft the WarnerMedia woody closes, according to Flannery. “We judge AT&T’s halfway communications concern is undervalued and should re-rate arsenic we get much clarity connected the WarnerMedia/Discovery transaction,” helium wrote, meaning that the marketplace could delegate a higher aggregate to this portion of the business.

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Flannery expects that AT&T whitethorn supply a 2022 outlook for its halfway communications concern erstwhile it reports fourth-quarter results successful January, and that forecast could connection investors much clarity connected the authorities of this cardinal portion of the company. Additionally, executives could soon shed much airy astir however they volition attack dividend argumentation aft the WarnerMedia spinoff.

Flannery cheered AT&T’s “solid” financials and caller operating performance, highlighting the company’s “industry-leading postpaid telephone adds.” While a slowdown successful wide wireless manufacture maturation and emerging competitory threats “create wide downside risks” for the market, Flannery says those worries are already mostly reflected successful AT&T’s stock price.

He chopped his terms people to $28 from $32 successful conjunction with his upgrade, but helium inactive thinks AT&T’s shares are undervalued: “At these levels we judge the banal is discounting an overly antagonistic outlook; so little than 1 3rd of the covering analysts person a affirmative standing connected the stock.”

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