Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AT&T Inc. (T) Dividend Stock Analysis

Linked here is a detailed quantitative analysis of AT&T Inc. (T). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: AT&T Inc. (formerly SBC Communications) provides telephone and broadband service and holds full ownership of AT&T Mobility (formerly Cingular Wireless). AT&T Corp. was acquired in late 2005 and BellSouth in late 2006.

Fair Value: In calculating fair value, I consider the NPV MMA Differential Fair Value along with these four calculations of fair value, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. Avg. High Yield Price
2. 20-Year DCF Price
3. Avg. P/E Price
4. Graham Number

T is trading at a discount to only 3.) above. Since T's tangible book value is not meaningful, a Graham number can not be calculated. The stock is trading at a 9.9% premium to its calculated fair value of $27.59. T did not earn any Stars in this section.

Dividend Analytical Data: In this section there are three possible Stars and three key metrics, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. Free Cash Flow Payout
2. Debt To Total Capital
3. Key Metrics
4. Dividend Growth Rate
5. Years of Div. Growth
6. Rolling 4-yr Div. > 15%

T earned two Stars in this section for 2.) and 3.) above. The stock earned a Star as a result of its most recent Debt to Total Capital being less than 45%. T earned a Star for having an acceptable score in at least two of the four Key Metrics measured. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1984 and has increased its dividend payments for 28 consecutive years.

Dividend Income vs. MMA: Why would you assume the equity risk and invest in a dividend stock if you could earn a better return in a much less risky money market account (MMA) or Treasury bond? This section compares the earning ability of this stock with a high yield MMA. Two items are considered in this section, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. NPV MMA Diff.
2. Years to > MMA

T earned a Star in this section for its NPV MMA Diff. of the $993. This amount is in excess of the $700 target I look for in a stock that has increased dividends as long as T has. The stock's current yield of 5.67% exceeds the 4.1% estimated 20-year average MMA rate.

Memberships and Peers: T is a member of the S&P 500 and a member of the Broad Dividend Achievers™ Index and a Dividend Champion. The company's peer group includes: CenturyLink, Inc. (CTL) with a 7.6% yield, Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) with a 0.0% yield and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) with a 5.2% yield.

Conclusion: T did not earn any Stars in the Fair Value section, earned two Stars in the Dividend Analytical Data section and earned one Star in the Dividend Income vs. MMA section for a total of three Stars. This quantitatively ranks T as a 3 Star-Hold stock.

Using my D4L-PreScreen.xls model, I determined the share price would need to increase to $33.79 before T's NPV MMA Differential decreased to the $700 minimum that I look for in a stock with 28 years of consecutive dividend increases. At that price the stock would yield 5.09%.

Resetting the D4L-PreScreen.xls model and solving for the dividend growth rate needed to generate the target $700 NPV MMA Differential, the calculated rate is 1.2%. This dividend growth rate is below the 2.4% used in this analysis, thus providing a margin of safety. T has a risk rating of 1.50 which classifies it as a Low risk stock.

T will have to navigate several regulatory hurdles in its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA. If successful the acquisition could reshape the U.S. wireless industry and provide T a leg-up on it competitors. AT&T is the dominant local phone company in 22 states, serving about 44 million local phone lines, 16 million Internet users, and 3 million television customers. The company has a strong balance sheet and exercises power over many of its suppliers. A concern is its Free Cash Flow payout has crept up to 68%, which is at the higher end of its 10 year range. It is currently trading above my calculated fair value price of $27.59 and I am currently slight over-allocated in the stock, so I don't plan any near-term purchases.

Disclaimer: Material presented here is for informational purposes only. The above quantitative stock analysis, including the Star rating, is mechanically calculated and is based on historical information. The analysis assumes the stock will perform in the future as it has in the past. This is generally never true. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion. See my Disclaimer for more information.

Full Disclosure: At the time of this writing, I was long in T (5.1% of my Income Portfolio) and was long in CTL. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

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