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AT&T stock declines as earnings beat but free-cash flow comes up light

Shares of AT&T Inc. were down 5% in Thursday’s premarket action after the telecommunications giant reported free-cash flow for the first quarter that fell short of analysts’ consensus expectations, though the company topped Wall Street’s profit target. During the first quarter, AT&T T, -8.88% logged income from continuing operations of $4.5 billion, or 57 cents

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Shares of AT&T Inc. were down 5% in Thursday’s premarket action after the telecommunications giant reported free-cash flow for the first quarter that fell short of analysts’ consensus expectations, though the company topped Wall Street’s profit target.

During the first quarter, AT&T T, -8.88% logged income from continuing operations of $4.5 billion, or 57 cents a share, after earning $5.1 billion, or 65 cents a share, on that metric in the year-earlier period.

After adjustments, AT&T earned 60 cents a share from continuing operations, down from the 63 cents a share in earnings that it saw from continuing operations a year before. Analysts tracked by FactSet were expecting 58 cents a share in adjusted earnings.

Operating revenue inched up to $30.14 billion from $29.71 billion a year before. Analysts tracked by FactSet were modeling $30.25 billion in revenue for the quarter.

The company reported 424,000 postpaid phone net additions. The FactSet consensus called for 423,000. AT&T saw 272,000 net additions within its fiber broadband business.

“We’re winning thanks to a proven and sustainable playbook that centers on simple, customer-centric experiences,” Chief Executive John Stankey said in a release. “As a result, we’re adding high-value customers, and when they choose AT&T, they stay with us.”

Free cash flow for the quarter came in at $1 billion, whereas analysts were modeling $3.2 billion. AT&T said previously that the first quarter tends to be seasonally slow on the metric due to the timing of device payments, incentive compensation and other factors.

AT&T shares have risen 7% this year as the S&P 500 SPX, -0.55% has gained 8%.

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