AT&T (T) Stock Falls After CFO Comments

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of AT&T (T) were falling 3.1% to $32.81 on Tuesday following comments from CFO John Stephens.

At an investor conference Stephens said the wireless carrier will see higher churn in the fourth quarter than in the year-ago quarter, though the company still expects its subscriber count to grow, according to the Wall Street Journal. The comments echo statements from Verizon (VZ) on Monday when the carrier said more subscribers were leaving for competitors in the fourth quarter than in the previous quarter.

Stephens added that AT&T expects wireless service margins for the fourth quarter to be comparable or better than those in the year-ago quarter.

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AT&T reduced prices for many of its wireless customers earlier in the year in response to lower prices offered by T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) . Sprint recently launched a promotion to offer wireless plans to existing AT&T customers that are half of their current monthly costs.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile offer lower price plans and promotions to pay for early termination fees from the two larger carriers.

TheStreet Ratings team rates AT&T INC 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 multiple strengths, 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, reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • T's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.5%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.82, 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 0.40 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. 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 underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for AT&T INC is rather high; currently it is at 55.88%. Regardless of T's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 9.10% trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: T Ratings Report

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