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Buy AT&T for a Steady Dividend Income

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We believe that current fall in AT&T (NYSE: T) is a good buying opportunity for the investors who want to own dividend stocks. At the current levels, the stock offers an attractive dividend yield of 5.73%. The stock is also likely to show capital appreciation in the long-term. Therefore, we recommend a long position in AT&T at the current levels.

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Key takeaways

  1. AT&T’s sharp slide offers an attractive entry opportunity in a dividend aristocrat
  2. AT&T and Time Warner deal is likely to be delayed, but should go through
  3. AT&T’s debt is a concern
  4. For the near to medium-term, the dividend raises should continue

The stock is down about 20% year-to-date. Such a fall, especially in a dividend aristocrat, is because of concerns on the continuation of dividend payouts. Therefore, let’s analyze the stock’s financials and its business to determine whether it’s a value trap or an attractive buying opportunity at the current levels.

Dividend paying history of AT&T

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Dividend Aristocrats are companies that have increased payouts for 25 consecutive years. AT&T is part of that distinguished list, as it has increased dividends for 33 straight years. It managed to keep its record intact even during the dotcom bubble and the financial crisis, which gives us confidence. Until the situation turns grim, the company will continue raising its dividend and retain its name in the distinguished list.

Well, if it is such a no brainer, the price of the stock shouldn’t have plunged. There must be certain concerns, which have led the investors to sell the stock. Let’s evaluate them.

The Justice department is opposing the AT&T and Time Warner deal

AT&T operates in a capital-intensive sector where growth has already peaked. Therefore, in order to grow, the companies resort to mergers and acquisitions. In 2015, AT&T completed the purchase of DirecTV – the largest pay TV provider – for about $49 billion. Just a year later, the company agreed to buy Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) for about $85 billion.

The huge content of Time Warner – owner of CNN, HBO and Warner Bros. – and the reach of AT&T has great synergy. The deal was initially expected to close by the end of this year but the Justice Department is opposing the deal. Therefore, AT&T’s chief financial officer, John Stephens said during a recent investor conference that “the timing of the closing of the deal is now uncertain.”

Nevertheless, the executives of the two companies are unlikely to give up without a fight, as they believe that the Justice Department doesn’t have the legal grounds to deny this deal. The final outcome is likely to be decided in the court of law.

Huge debt even if Time Warner deal is approved

Unless AT&T invests to upgrade its business, or acquire companies, which have a good synergy, it will not be able to compete and stay ahead of its competitors. Hence, the investors don’t expect the company to remain debt free. However, the debt should not be unserviceable, endangering future dividend payouts.

The current debt to EBITDA of AT&T is 2.19 times. On completion of the Time Warner acquisition, the debt/EBITDA is likely to increase to 2.8 to 3 times. The management wants to bring down the debt level, as soon as possible. This casts a doubt over the continued dividend raises. Will the company sacrifice the dividend for debt repayment?

Unlikely.

AT&T has been cash flow positive for more than a decade. Companies pay out dividends from their free cash flows. The payout ratio has mostly ranged between 52 to 70% with the odd spike to 94% in 2014.

This year, the company generated a free cash flow of $12.8 billion in the first three quarters and paid out a dividend of $9 billion, resulting in a payout ratio of 70.5%. The management has maintained its guidance for 2017 and is likely to end the year with a free cash flow of $18 billion.

On the other hand, Time Warner has generated a free cash flow of $3.57 billion in the first three quarters of this year. In 2016, the company had earned a free cash flow of $4.25 billion. Let’s consider a conservative estimate and expect the company to earn only as much as last year.

If the deal receives the green signal before the end of the year – though highly unlikely – the combined entity will end the year with a free cash flow of $22.25 billion.

After the merger, due to the equity dilution, AT&T’s dividend liability will increase to $14.5 billion.

For the nine months ended September 30, the company paid an interest of $4.3 billion. So, for the whole year, the company may end up with about $6 billion in interest expense. Add the additional $1.3 billion, which AT&T has to bear on assuming new debt following the Time Warner deal and the total comes to $7.3 billion.

Adding the interest expense and the dividend payout, we get a figure of about $21.8 billion. This doesn’t leave the company with enough money to allocate for debt reduction.

However, the figure also doesn’t put the dividend in danger, as it can easily be accomodated in the free cash flow. But, is there a danger that AT&T’s free cash flows will decline in the short-term or the medium-term?

Financial performance of AT&T

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Revenue in billions 127.43 128.75 132.45 146.8 163.79
EBITDA in billions 31.14 48.87 32.14 46.65 51.72
EPS diluted 1.25 3.39 1.19 2.37 2.1

 

From the above figures, we find that AT&T has been able to gradually increase its revenues for the past five years. Similarly, the EBITDA has been on a gradual uptrend, which shows that the company has been able to maintain its profitability.

How has the company performed this year?

The company has so far maintained a flat performance in 2017.

In the third quarter of this year, the company’s revenues fell from $40.9 billion in 2016 to $39.7 billion. Similarly, the reported earnings per share (EPS) also fell from $0.54 to $0.49, which shows a marginal slowdown.

While the result is not something to write home about, it is not an outright disaster as well.

Analyst forecasts

According to Nasdaq.com, the analysts forecast a long-term growth rate of 4.8%. The consensus 12-month price target is $40, which is a good 17% above the current price of the stock.

With the likelihood of the small dividend raise intact and a possibility of price appreciation, let’s see what does the chart point to.

What does the chart forecast?

The stock had been forming a large ascending triangle pattern. However, three weeks back, the stock broke below the strong trendline support, which is a bearish sign. Nevertheless, the stock has a strong support at the $32, which has not been broken on a weekly closing basis since mid-2012.

On the upside, the trendline, which had been acting as a strong support until now is likely to act as a stiff resistance. However, In the long-term, if the stock climbs above the trendline at $36, a move to $40 and thereafter to $43 is possible.

Risks

If interest rates rise quickly, AT&T’s interest expenses will rise. Additionally, if the company is unable to stay ahead of the competition, its free cash flows will decline and the dividend payouts will be in danger.

However, this is unlikely to happen within a single quarter. We shall continue to track the stock and its financials.

Portfolio

In order to track our investments better, we shall maintain active portfolios for dividend and growth. This will help us compare our performance with the markets.

In that step, we shall include AT&T as the first stock in the dividend portfolio at the current levels of $34.22.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

 

 

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. jeffc89

    November 15, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Good article Rakesh, I will look to invest in AT&T. Thanks!

    • Rakesh Upadhyay

      November 15, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Hello jeffc89,

      Thank you. We shall keep track of the company, as we have included it in our portfolio.

      With warm regards
      Rakesh Upadhyay

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Stock Picks

Invest on Reversing PRGO and QCOM

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The S&P 500 Index (SPX) seems unstoppable as it continues to record one fresh high after another. The market even gapped up on January 12, opening at 2,770.18 after closing at 2,767.56 on January 11. Market participants are extremely bullish as they continue to buy even though SPX is in extreme overbought territory. At this point, however, it would be wise to take a contrarian point of view and be cautious about your positions. Your capital and all gains are at tremendous risk when the market is euphoric.

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You can still ride the mania by investing in stocks that are far from their tops. Let’s look at names that are reversing their trends.

PRGO – Perrigo Company

Perrigo Company (PRGO) is an international manufacturer of over-the-counter healthcare supplies, including infant formulae, supplements, and pediatric nutritionals. The company has close to 10,000 employees with sales of over $5 billion in 2016.

PRGO has been in a downtrend since it generated a lower high of 198.42 in August 2015. Things went from bad to worse for investors when the market broke crucial support of 120 in April 2016. During that week, the stock lost 21.02% of its value, as it dropped from 120.10 to 94.86. PRGO continued to tumble until it established support at 67 in March 2017. It consolidated for several months at that level until a volume spike in August 2017 brought the stock back to life.

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Technical analysis reveal that PRGO is on the verge of completely reversing its trend. It has created a bullish reversal pattern that relies on the breach of resistance at 98.

With the stock still a few dollars away from 98, you have a couple of options. You can buy at the current price level to reduce costs. Otherwise, wait for the stock to take out 98 with at least 10 million in volume in the daily chart. Those who bought at the 67 support level are likely to sell a significant part of their positions at 98 to lock their gains. PRGO needs a new set of investors who would absorb the selling pressure.

Once 98 is taken out, the target is 130.

Weekly PRGO Chart

Monthly PRGO Chart

As of January 12, the stock of Perrigo Company closed at 91.80.

Summary of Strategy

Buy: 91.80 or breakout at 98 with 10 million volume in the daily chart

Target: 130

Stop: A close below 87 negates this trade call

 

QCOM – Qualcomm Incorporated

Qualcomm Incorporated (QCOM) is an American multinational company that specializes in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of wireless telecommunications products and services. The company has over 33,000 employees and has generated $23.55 billion in revenues in 2016.

QCOM went extremely bearish when it posted a lower high of 78.53 in October 2014. The stock nosedived as it struggled to find stability. It even gapped down in the weekly chart on several occasions before establishing support at 45 in January 2016. QCOM has been rallying since. It’s also very close to breaching resistance at 69.

Technical analysis reveals that QCOM has created a large bullish reversal pattern. To confirm the reversal, the stock must take out resistance at 69 with volume of 80 million in the daily chart. Those who bought at the 55 support level are likely to dump their shares at 69, knowing that this is a strong resistance. QCOM needs buyers who would be happy to purchase those shares at 69.

The strategy is to wait for volume confirmation before placing buy orders. Bears have defended 69 several times which means they wouldn’t give up that level without a fight. If you want to invest, make sure you get in when the bulls are the clear winner.  

Take out 69 and we have a target of 93.

Weekly QCOM Chart


Monthly QCOM Chart


As of January 12, the Qualcomm Company stock closed at 65.38.

Summary of Strategy

Buy: Breakout at 69 with 80 million in volume

Target: 93

Stop: After breakout at 69, a close below 64 invalidates this trade call.

 

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Stock Picks

Ride PBCT and OKE on Bullish Reversal Patterns

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The S&P 500 Index (SPX) continues to be aggressively bullish as the market records seven fresh highs in a matter of eight trading days. Momentum is sky high, and the market continues to climb even though it is in extreme overbought territory. While this may sound bullish, such an ascent is not sustainable. The market will eventually have a correction and buying at the top is not a great strategy. If you don’t want to be left behind however, be smart and buy stocks that offer limited risks but reasonable rewards.

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Let’s look at names that are near their breakout point.

PBCT – People’s United Financial Incorporated

People’s United Financial Incorporated (PBCT) is the bank holding company for People’s United Bank. The company was founded in 1842 and has 4,729 employees. PBCT operates in the commercial and retail banking segments, serving individual, municipal, and corporate clients.  

The stock has been in a downtrend since it generated a lower high of 21.76 in September 2008. It plunged to one lower low after another until it found support at 11 in August 2011. After going through a long accumulation period, it came back to life in November 2016 when the stock went from 16.48 to 18.43 in a week. More than one year later, it appears that PBCT is ready for its next big move.

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Technical analysis show that the stock has created an immense bullish reversal pattern that started way back in 2008. Resistance at 20 was created when the market failed to close above that level almost a decade ago. Fast-forward to 2018, the stock gets another chance to reclaim that level. The stock needed close to ten years to get to the verge of taking out resistance at 20.

These multi-year consolidation periods sometimes yield tremendous gains in the short term. The key for PBCT is to break resistance of 20. To do so, the market needs 10 million in volume on the daily chart. Those who bought at immediate support of 17.50 are likely to sell some of their positions. The stock needs a fresh set of investors who can absorb the selling pressure.

The strategy is to buy breakout at 20 with the required volume. Take out that resistance level, and we have a target of 29.

Weekly PBCT Chart

Monthly PBCT Chart

As of January 12, the stock of People’s United Financial Incorporated closed at 19.48.

Summary of Strategy

Buy: Breakout at 20 with 10 million in volume in the daily chart.

Target: 29

Stop: After breakout at 20, a close below $18.75 negates this trade call.

OKE – ONEOK Incorporated

ONEOK Incorporated (OKE) is a diversified energy company that owns and operates one of the country’s modern natural gas liquid systems. It is also involved in collecting, processing, storing, and transporting natural gas. The company was founded in 1906 to provide safe and reliable energy and services to its customers.

OKE went into a downtrend in October 2014 when the stock registered a lower high of 61.56. It tumbled to one lower low after another until it established support at 20 in December 2015. The stock consolidated at that level until April 2016 when it made a big push up. OKE went from 30.57 to 36.03 in one week. Since then, the stock has been gradually rising, and it is currently threatening to take out resistance at 60.

Technical analysis show that OKE has created a large bullish reversal pattern that started in 2014 when the stock posted a lower high at 61.56. Breach of resistance at 60 will attract momentum traders, and could push the stock up to 100.

The strategy is to wait for breakout at 60 with volume of 10 million in the daily chart. Those who bought at immediate support at 55 are likely to dump some of their shares at 60 to lock in gains. OKE needs a new batch of investors who would most likely sell above 60.

Otherwise, wait for the market to take a slight dip so you can buy as close to 55 as possible. The market is currently in overbought territory, which increases the likelihood of a pullback.

Weekly ONEOK Chart

Monthly ONEOK Chart

As of January 12, the ONEOK Incorporated stock closed at 58.67.

Summary of Strategy

Buy: breakout at 60 with 10 million volume or as close to 55 as possible.

Target: 100

Stop: A close below 52 invalidates this trade call.

 

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Trade Recommendation: Bottom Pick MOS and NWL

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The S&P 500 Index (SPX) hit another fresh high of 2748.51 points yesterday. This is the fifth fresh high of the index in the last five trading days. Yesterday’s volume is still above the 20-day average, which means that market participants are willing to buy at this level, expecting that the index will climb higher. All of this is happening while the index is in extreme overbought territory in the daily, weekly, and monthly charts. As an experienced trader, I would take this opportunity to sell the greed. The best time to sell is when you don’t have to.

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While selling the greed, use your capital and earnings to buy the fear. Let’s look at stocks that have fallen, but have managed to bounce back.

MOS – The Mosaic Company

The Mosaic Company (MOS) is a Fortune 500 firm and one of the world’s largest producers of two key crop nutrients: potash and phosphate. In mining those minerals, the company is able to produce high-quality fertilizer and animal feed. Half of which is sold to customers in North America while the other half is sold to customers around the globe.

MOS has been in a downtrend for over six years after generating a lower high of 74.31 on the weekly chart in July 2011. Things went from bad to worse when the stock broke critical support of 50 in July 2013. MOS then created one lower low after another until it tumbled down to 19 which is a support level that hasn’t been taken out since 2006.

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Technical analysis show that MOS continues to respect the 12-year old support level. The stock has bounced from 19 with significant volume on the weekly charts in September 2017. This indicates that market participants are investing because they believe the stock is cheap. However, RSI shows that the stock is also respecting immediate resistance of 67. MOS may take a slight dip, which is a good opportunity for you to buy. The strategy is to buy as close to support of 23 as possible.

Take note: the stock is still in a downtrend, but there’s an opportunity to generate profits by buying the bounce. Consider selling positions at 34 to lock in gains. If the market breaches that resistance level, the next target is 50.

Weekly MOS Chart

Monthly MOS Chart

As of January 8, The Mosaic Company closed at 26.29.

Summary of Strategy

Buy: as close to support at 23 as possible

Target: 34 and 50

Stop: A close below 19 negates this trade call.

 

NWL – Newell Brands Incorporated

Newell Brands Incorporated (NWL) is a global leader in marketing commercial and consumer merchandise such as food storage, home organization products, reusable containers, and office supply products. The company’s portfolio includes popular brands such as Coleman, PaperMate, Elmer’s, Rubbermaid, and Parker Pens.   

NWL has been in a downtrend since it created a bearish double top at 55 in June 2017. The stock lost almost half of its value when it plunged to just below 28, which is a very important support level. Since 1996, the stock surged whenever it went above this level. On the other hand, NWL tends to nosedive if that support level is breached.

So far, the stock appears to respect this support level. Massive increase in volume levels from end of October to end of November indicate capitulation. The significant drop in volume last week may suggest exhaustion. This is a good opportunity to bottom pick.

The strategy is to buy at current price level. Initial resistance is 35. Take out this level, and we have a target of 44.

Weekly NWL Chart

Monthly NWL Chart

As of January 8, the Newell Brands Incorporated stock closed at 32.08.

Summary of Strategy

Buy: 32.08

Target: 44

Stop: A close below 28 invalidates this trade call.

 

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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