NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- AT&T (T) was rising 0.97% to $33.67 on Thursday after the company announced that it would receive a non-cash, pre-tax gain of approximately $7.6 billion for the fourth quarter from its pensions and other post-employment benefit plans.
The company announced that the gain also included a $7.9 billion actuarial gain, due to the increase of its assumption on interest rates to 5%, and a gain of $3.2 billion from greater-than-expected return on assets. Updated mortality estimates and several demographic changes also offset some of the gains.
AT&T, the largest telephone company in the U.S., plans to report fourth-quarter results on Jan. 28.
TheStreet Ratings team rates AT&T as a "buy" with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate AT&T INC (T) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- T's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- AT&T INC has improved earnings per share by 14.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AT&T INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.21 versus $0.66 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.48 versus $1.21).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 4.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $3,635.00 million to $3,814.00 million.
- The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.89, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.38 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
- The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, AT&T INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: T Ratings Report