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Tickers in this Article: T
AT&T (NYSE:T) announced its results for the most recent quarter on October 24, 2012. AT&T is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates provide wireless and wireline telecommunications services and products to consumers and businesses worldwide. It also provides directory advertising and publishing services in the United States and international markets.

Investors care about earnings because they drive stock prices. Strong earnings generally result in the stock price moving up and vice versa. SEE: Surprising Earnings Results

The Numbers: AT&T posted an EPS above analyst expectations, despite revenues falling short of predictions. The company reported adjusted net income of 62 cents per share versus the 60 cents per share estimate and revenues of $31.5 billion versus the $31.72 billion estimate. Revenue climbed 0.1% from the same period last year. The company's income has remained about on par with last year's levels.

Management Quote: "We had another impressive quarter with strong earnings growth, record cash flows and solid returns to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer. "In wireless, we had another excellent smartphone quarter, penetration of usage-based mobile data plans continues to climb, and our 4G LTE network build is ahead of schedule. And in wireline, our IP network continues to deliver strong gains in U-verse high speed Internet connections, which helped drive an almost 10 percent increase in broadband data ARPU.

Looking Ahead: Analysts appear increasingly optimistic about the company's results for the next quarter. The average estimate for the fourth quarter has moved up from 47 cents a share to 50 cents over the last 60 days. When analyst increase earnings estimates investors can assume business has been stronger than first thought and is an encouraging sign for investors. For the fiscal year, the average estimate has moved down from $2.40 a share to $2.38 over the last 60 days.

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