AT&T tops Wall Street's profit, revenue forecasts

Features Associated Press

Shares of AT&T Inc. rose Tuesday after the company's second-quarter profit and revenue beat industry analysts' projections.

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The Dallas phone and video company also said that it still expects its $85 billion Time Warner deal to close this year. AT&T bought DirecTV in 2015 and wants the owner of the CNN, TBS and HBO networks and a movie studio so that it can expand beyond its traditional business lines as the wireless phone industry becomes more competitive.

AT&T said Tuesday that it added 127,000 wireless customers — users of cellphones and tablets — who pay a bill at the end of the month, the more lucrative kind of customer. That's compared with a gain of 257,000 customers in the April-June quarter last year. It also added fewer prepaid customers.

Revenue from the wireless business declined 2 percent, to $17.5 billion, and customers paid AT&T less, on average. This year's shift to unlimited plans has cut into the fees charged by phone companies when customers go over their data caps on some limited-data plans.

In its TV business, video customers fell by 199,000, a deeper loss than a year ago, to 25.2 million. More Americans are cutting traditional TV service as online video gets more popular. That trend led AT&T to launch its DirecTV Now online cable replacement service, which streams live TV over the internet, last year. Those customers grew by 152,000 to 491,000 in the second quarter.

Net income rose 15 percent to $3.92 billion, or 63 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 79 cents per share, beating the 74-cent estimate of the 20 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

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Revenue fell 1.7 percent to $39.84 billion, roughly in line with Wall Street's forecast.

AT&T shares rose 2.6 percent to $37.15 in after-hours trading following the release of the earnings report. The stock closed Tuesday at $36.22, down 15 percent in 2017. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has increased 11 percent.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on T at https://www.zacks.com/ap/T

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Keywords: AT&T, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings