Shares of AT&T, Inc. (T) will begin trading ex-dividend on Friday, Jan. 6. To qualify for a dividend check, investors must have owned AT&T shares prior to Friday, which is the day the company's management will finalize its roster of shareholders to whom it will mail payments. 

AT&T stock closed Wednesday at $42.77, down 0.58%. The shares ended 2016 with gains of 23%, including 7% returns in the past three months. This compares with a 9.5% increase in the S&P 500 (SPX) index for 2016. AT&T stock has risen 24.3% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has risen almost 10%. (See also: U.S. Telcos Covet Pretty Things: Outlook for IoT Buys in 2017.)

In its third quarter earnings results, reported in October, the Texas-based company missed Wall Street estimates on earnings per share and on revenue. The company reported adjusted earnings of 74 cents per share, which missed analysts' projections by 1 cent, while revenue of $40.89 billion grew 4.6% year over year but missed Wall Street estimates by about $260 million. (See also: AT&T Picks the Wrong Time to Raise Prices.)

For the quarter ending December, AT&T is expected to report earnings of 66 cents per share, up from 63 cents per share a year ago, while revenue of $42.14 billion would be flat year over year. For the full year, earnings are projected rise about 4.79% to $2.84 per share, while revenue of $164 billion would mark a 12% rise year over year. (See also: Robert Baird Raises Rating on AT&T, Because Trump.)

Based on Wednesday's closing price of $42.77, AT&T's 49-cent per share quarterly dividend yields 4.61% annually, or about 2.61 percentage points above the 2.00% average yield of the S&P 500 index. AT&T will send its dividend payment on Feb. 1 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 10. The stock has a consensus Hold rating and an average analyst 12-month price target of $41, implying a decline of 4% from current levels.

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