AT&T Sees Itself Ringing Up a Solid 2020

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As investors and analysts scramble to adjust their forward earnings expectations for companies and sectors amid the coronavirus outbreak, AT&T  (T) - Get Report is sticking to its rosy forecast - and buying back up to $4 billion of its own stock to boot.

Shares of AT&T gained on Wednesday after AT&T Chief Operating Officer and Warner Media CEO John Stankey said he's confident the company will achieve its 2020 and long-term earnings and profit guidance - especially with the ongoing rollout of 5G, and the anticipated May launch of HBO Max.

Stankey also revealed the $4 billion share-buyback plan and identified 10 categories of cost-saving initiatives that AT&T will take on over the next three years - all of which should help the telecom and media giant's bottom line. 

The company also said it intends to use 50%-70% of free cash flow after dividends to retire about 70% of the shares it issued to fund the acquisition of Time Warner - now WarnerMedia - by the end of 2022.

Analysts polled by FactSet currently expect AT&T to post full-year 2020 earnings of $3.61 a share on revenue of $182 billion. The company will report its first-quarter results on April 22. Analysts polled by FactSet are looking for per-share earnings of 87 cents on revenue of $44.7 billion. 

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