2012 has been a great year for AT&T (T). Shares of the $218 billion communications firm have rallied around 25% this year, not a bad showing for a mammoth-sized blue chip.
That upside is actually a bit on the conservative side; it doesn't include AT&T's massive dividend payout, a 44-cent quarterly dividend that's currently a 4.66% yield. Despite the size of this telco's payout, I think that this stock looks well positioned to cut even bigger checks to investors in the next quarter. Here's why.>>5 Toxic Tech Stocks to Sell Now AT&T is the biggest mobile phone stock in the U.S. Even though Verizon Wireless boasts millions more customers, Verizon (VZ) only owns 55% of its cellular carrier subsidiary. AT&T, on the other hand, lays claim to all of AT&T Mobility and its 89 million cell phone subscribers. The firm also owns around 40 million landlines and serves millions of TV and internet subscribers. While most investors rightly focus on AT&T's wireless business, the firm's fixed-line business boasts hefty replacement costs and significant cash generation. The firm has a strong balance sheet with a debt load that's been diminishing to levels not seen at most telecom stocks. That gives AT&T plenty of wherewithal to hike its dividend payout in the next quarter. Investors should watch earnings at the end of October. I also featured AT&T last month in "5 Toxic Stocks to Sell Now."
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