AT&T Inc. was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Cowen on Thursday due in large part to its proposed $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV . The brokerage also raised its price target to $40 from $35 on the premise that DirecTV will be accretive to earnings per share and free cash flow, and that an in-home and mobile video offering would help differentiate the company long term. "We believe over the coming year the acquisition of DTV will prove as much strategically beneficial as it is financially, which we think remains a non-consensus view," said Cowen analyst Colby Synesael. Shares of AT&T are up 8% this year, outperforming the broader S&P 500, up 0.5%. Despite the year-to-date outperformance, Synesael said AT&T continues to trade at a 22% discount to the S&P 500, versus the historical average of an 8% discount.
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