AT&T (T 3.36%) stock was hardly a success story on Tuesday, but the monster telecom did better than many publicly traded businesses on that dark day. The company's shares fell a comparatively modest 3%, against the more than 4% slide of the S&P 500 index. Investors, it seemed, found some comfort in the latest official update from the company's leader.
In an address at the Goldman Sachs (GS -2.19%) Communicopia + Technology Conference, AT&T CEO John Stankey supplied an update for the company's investors.
While these facts were certain to have been carefully massaged to keep shareholders happy, they nevertheless provided fuel for optimism. Regarding one item of concern, costs, Stankey said that the telecom remains committed to saving more than $4 billion by the end of this year. This will be helped by the continued exit from parts of its legacy business, such as the move from a copper-wire network to fiber technology.
At the same time, the CEO said that AT&T is investing at record rates to improve core connectivity, a push that should hit a peak this year and next year. It also remains committed to its shareholder payout -- a high-yield dividend that currently yields 6.3% -- and it will extend its policy of using cash after dividends to reduce its considerable debt load.
More encouragingly, Stankey pointed out that AT&T continues to add customers for its 5G mobile services and fiber internet -- both rather attractive technologies, and thus prime target segments of growth. In its most recently reported quarter, fiber was quite the high grower, with net customer additions rising by 28% year over year (albeit from a comparatively modest base).