As broader market averages (DJI) (SP500) (COMP.IND) remain under heavy pressure, many investors have shifted their attention towards the safety of dividends. One stock in particular that has drawn some attention is AT&T (NYSE:T), which has outperformed the broader marketplace in 2022.
T is lower in 2022 by 5.5% which is roughly a quarter of the losses that major indices have seen. Meanwhile, the stock offers a forward dividend yield of 6%. So does AT&T represent a top dividend pick?
AT&T (T) has positioned itself to outperform other stocks within its sector as it pertains to the stocks dividend yield. According to Seeking Alpha Quantitative metrics AT&T deserves a grade of A- regarding its dividend yield.
See below a breakdown of the stocks' dividend yield grade:
While the firm has historically offered a strong payout to shareholders, T is not known for expanding its dividend dramatically over time. AT&T received a C- from Seeking Alpha’s Quant grades on this front. In addition, AT&T comes up significantly short when measured against the sector median for integrated telecommunication services stocks.
Here's a breakdown of AT&T’s dividend growth grade:
AT&T’s dividend safety may not be as high as many investors would hope for but the result is still fairly solid. According to Seeking Alpha’s metrics the stock received a C for this key area of concern.
See a breakdown of AT&T’s dividend safety grade:
While its dividend growth levels are lower than most, investors can depend that at the very least they will be sure to receive one. Seeking Alpha labeled AT&T with an A on its consistency to pay out dividends. On this measure, it has blown away the sector median for 30 years running.
See a breakdown of AT&T’s dividend consistency grade:
What Others Say:
Looking beyond the company more broadly, Stone Fox Capital, a Seeking Alpha contributor, views AT&T as a Buy. The firm argued that “the wireless giant could become a huge cash flow machine again on a reduction of 5G capital spending in the sector.”
At the same time JR Research, another SA contributor, is a little more cautious about the stock, viewing it as a Hold. JR Research highlighted that AT&T's Q3 earnings commentary calmed investors' fears that it could miss its FY22 free cash flow guidance. But it also stated “Now is not the time to be greedy.”
AT&T is not the only telecommunication stock that an investor can target. Other potential names in the sector include Verizon Communications (VZ), Frontier Communications Parent (FYBR), Orange S.A. (ORAN), Ooma (OOMA) as well as many others.
An investor can also diversify their approach to AT&T by looking into exchange traded funds.
AT&T sits inside of 256 ETFs, but the three largest weightings are held in the John Hancock Multifactor Media and Communications ETF (JHCS) at 5.79%, iShares MSCI USA Value Factor ETF (VLUE) at 4.61% and the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Communication Services ETF (EWCO) at 4.48%.
Moreover, for dividend investors that are unsure of AT&T and are looking for broad exposure to the safety of dividends, there are many general dividend funds to consider. Look to ETFs such as (VIG), (NYSEARCA:VYM), (NYSEARCA:SCHD), (DGRO), (SDY), (NASDAQ:DVY), (HDV), (FVD), (NOBL), and (SPYD).
For further analysis, see AT&T’s complete dividend score card here.