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How to buy AT&T shares
You can use this guide to discover more about AT&T, its recent stock price moves, and the key factors you should look out for before investing. We’ve assessed the best brokers to point you towards the best place to invest.
Compare the best AT&T trading platforms
If you have all the information you need already, you can head over to a broker using one of the links below. We’ve analysed all the best platforms so that you can find one that suits you. If you’re not ready to do that yet, keep reading for more information on AT&T.
How to buy AT&T stock, a step-by-step guide
The stock market isn’t massively complicated, so don’t worry even if you’re new to stock investing. These are the steps to follow in order to make an investment:
- Choose a broker. You need an online trading platform to be able to own and hold shares. There are many different options to choose from, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. The comparison table above can help you select the right broker for you, and you can head to our comprehensive broker reviews if you’re still unsure.
- Create an account. Once you’ve selected your broker, simply go to their website and create an account. The steps required for this will vary from platform to platform, but generally you can expect to have to provide your name, email address, phone number, and some form of photo identification.
- Deposit funds. Log into your broker account and select the option to deposit funds. Depending on your broker you’ll have a variety of payment options available; most brokers accept bank transfers and debit card payments, but not all accept e-wallets such as PayPal. Select your preferred payment method and deposit the amount of money you wish to invest in AT&T shares.
- Place an order for T stock. Now navigate to the broker’s buying stocks page (a link to this can be found in the menu on the website). Here you’ll be able to search for AT&T’s ticker symbol (T) and see the current price at which the stock is trading. If you’re happy with the price, enter the amount of shares you wish to buy and place your order.
- Execute your order. Once you have placed your order, your broker will automatically execute it for you and your AT&T shares will be listed in your account. Congratulations, you’ve just bought shares in AT&T!
What is AT&T? And should I invest?
AT&T (NYSE: T) is a major wireless broadband provider and since 2018 has been the parent company of the media giant TimeWarner. AT&T operates in a highly competitive field and is battling competitors with its new HBO Max streaming service and other mobile providers in the new 5G battleground. AT&T has traditionally been a good buy if you’re looking for reliable dividends, the company having a proud tradition of increasing its dividend year on year.
Founded as the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1882, AT&T has been at the forefront of communications technology for over a century. In 1984, the original AT&T was forced to divest itself of its local telephone services. This led to the formation of SBC Communications, which ultimately went on to acquire its former parent company in 2005 and take on the AT&T name, branding and stock ticker.
AT&T has expanded its operations into South America and acquired the pay-TV service DirecTV as well as TimeWarner in recent years, turning them into a truly global media and telecommunications company. The trade-off with these acquisitions is that AT&T has had to take on debt, which means they have a tighter balance sheet than many of its competitors. How well they are able to continue paying down debt while also investing in new 5G networks to keep pace with the competition will be a crucial factor to consider before investing.
How has the company performed in recent years?
AT&T’s strategy of taking on more and more debt to fund its media acquisitions failed to convince investors. In recent years T stock has shed value during broader market gains. It has, however, always maintained its reliable dividend, and is likely to remain a good buy if that’s your main focus.
In a sign of how the market has viewed AT&T’s acquisitions, the stock suffered through a steady downward trend throughout its period of media expansion. That decline was disrupted only by a couple of sharp shocks, most notably in late 2017 when the US Department of Justice sued to try to prevent the deal for TimeWarner.
Thanks primarily to that deal, much of AT&T’s success is now reliant on its media business, which meant the pandemic was particularly damaging as it forced cinema closures and the pausing of film production. Whereas its closest competitors in the mobile space, T-Mobile and Verizon, rebounded quickly, T did not, and remained stuck around $30 in the aftermath, down from $38.55 pre-pandemic.
Is it a good time to buy AT&T shares now?
For investors who prefer stocks which pay a reliable dividend, it’s rarely been a bad time. If you are more interested in growth, the picture is more complicated and hinges on whether new management can meet a mixture of challenging targets, notably paying down the debt burden, expanding its 5G network and convincing investors that HBO Max is a legitimate competitor to Netflix and Disney+.
The deal for DirecTV in particular has been seen as a failure. Selling it, albeit at significantly less than the $50bn it cost to acquire, looks a likely way for AT&T to continue addressing its debt obligations and woo back investors. Anyone looking at AT&T should keep an eye on this and similar attempts to raise funds that may well inspire much stronger market confidence in the company
The demand for mobile technology is likely to expand with the growth of 5G networks, meaning there is potential for growth in the medium term if AT&T can strengthen its share of that market. Potential buyers might also want to track big 5G network auctions, as they offer opportunities for AT&T to prove that it remains a major player in the mobile space and has the cash flow to compete. You can stay up to date on all the latest news from AT&T, as well as our most recent bits of market analysis below.
Should I invest in AT&T shares in February?
Is AT&T a buy or sell in November?
AT&T shares are down 31% YTD. Should I invest?
Buying, selling and trading AT&T shares for beginners
What to do before buying shares
You should always take the time to research a stock fully before investing your money, especially if you haven’t bought shares before. The more knowledge you have, the better your chances of making a wise investment. With that in mind, here’s a checklist to run through beforehand.
- Research the company. You should always examine the fundamentals of a company before buying its stock. What is AT&T? How did the company get its start? How did it grow? Is AT&T’s revenue and profit growth picking up? Is the company innovating? The more you know about AT&T, the better positioned you’ll be to make smart investment decisions.
- Make sure you understand the basics of stock investing. Before getting involved in the stock market, make sure you have an understanding of how it works. This will ensure that you have more clearly defined goals and have thought through how you will achieve them.
- Decide between share dealing and CFD trading. Choose the type of investment strategy you want to pursue, and make sure you have carried out the necessary fundamental or technical analysis for share dealing and CFD trading respectively.
- Set the size of your budget. The golden rule of investing is never to risk more than you can afford to lose. Not every investment you make will result in a profit, so it is important to set a budget that not only allows good potential for capital growth, but also protects against overly damaging losses.
- Find the right broker. Individual brokers each have their own pros and cons. Some will have low fees but have a user interface you struggle to understand, whereas others may be a bit more expensive but come with a range of features that you want to take advantage of. Our broker reviews can help you find the right platform for you.
- Examine broader market conditions. No stock exists in a vacuum, and it’s always important to analyse the general trends of the stock market as a whole before investing. If a bear market is setting in and stock prices are falling, it’s best to wait it out and invest your money later when the stock is cheaper. If, however, the market is looking bearish, you’ll want to make your investment quickly to get the maximum benefit from rising stock prices. Our news section can help you keep on top of movements in the financial markets.
What is the difference between buying, selling, and trading shares?
If you’re new to stock investing, then it’s important to understand the basics of how to buy, sell, and trade AT&T shares. Here’s a quick run-through of what’s involved in each.
This step is outlined in the steps further up this page. You want to find a broker that offers AT&T, and ideally time your investment when the stock price is low so that you can profit by selling the shares after they increase in value.
When you sell any AT&T shares you have bought, you’ll want to do so at a higher price than the one at which you bought to earn a profit.
When you sell is up to you. You might decide to hold for a long period of time, hoping to benefit from the company growing steadily throughout. Or, if you see that AT&T’s stock is already up a lot compared to the price you bought it and you’ve noticed that the stock market is starting to fall, it might make sense to sell and take your profits to invest elsewhere. Equally, if the stock has fallen since you bought it and looks set to fall further, it might be a good idea to cut your losses by selling your shares.
Trading is a similar process that’s just done over shorter periods of time, with the aim to make small profits on a regular basis. This means that you can make money faster and spend your profits in your day-to-day life – however, on the other side it means you can lose money faster as well. For inexperienced investors, we generally recommend making investments for at least 6 months to a year instead of making trades in quick succession.
You can trade AT&T shares through dealing shares, or by trading with CFDs. These allow investors to speculate on stock prices and trade with leverage in pursuit of bigger gains. CFD trading is explained further in the next section, but it is worth noting that beginners should avoid trading with leverage. It comes with large risks and is best left to experienced investors.
Share dealing vs CFD trading
When it comes to investing in any stock, the two options you have are share dealing and trading. Which one of these methods to opt for largely depends on your investment timeline, with investors thinking long term tending to go for share dealing, and those looking for short term gains pursuing a more aggressive trading strategy.
Here’s a quick summary of the two approaches, and the pros and cons of each.
Share dealing refers to the practice of buying and holding shares in a particular company over the long term. When investing like this, you’re seeking to profit either from dividend payments or an increase in the stock’s price over time.
When investing your money this way, it is important to do thorough fundamental analysis of the company in which you are investing. You want to put your money in a stock you believe will trend upwards over time, even if there is some market volatility along the way, rather than get distracted by shorter term peaks and troughs.
- Can build wealth over time to achieve financial goals
- Don’t need to be very reactive to short-term market movements
- Some stocks will give you an income through regular dividend payments
- Takes a long time to realise any profits
- Your capital is tied up in stocks and cannot be used for other investments
If your aim is to generate profits in the short term, then you might be better off trading shares than holding them in your portfolio. Stock trades like this are executed using CFDs (contracts for difference), which allow investors to trade against the value of a stock without having to take ownership of it. When CFD trading, investors are looking to buy and sell stocks fast to profit from short-term fluctuations in value.
One aspect of CFD trading that many investors find attractive is that they allow you to trade with leverage. This means you can place large trades while only putting up a fraction of the value yourself – for instance, if a platform offered leverage of 1:10, you could put £10 into T shares and be able to trade £100 worth. This can maximise profits if the market moves in your favour, but be careful as it can also lead to heavy losses.
When trading using CFDs, it is key to be skilled at technical analysis and reading stock price charts. As you’re trading stocks quickly and frequently, the fundamental strength of the company in which you’re investing isn’t as important as being able to predict how its stock price will rise and fall minute-by-minute.
- Can generate fast profits if you read the market right
- Some platforms allow you to trade with leverage
- Prevents your capital being tied up so you can take advantage of investment opportunities
- Trading with leverage is risky and can lead to big losses
- Doesn’t necessarily generate growth over the long term
Consider which approach suits you best and craft an investment strategy that works for you. If you need more information, then simply take our stock trading course and read our guide to CFD trading to get you up to speed.
If neither of these options appeal to you, then you can find a variety of other ways to invest on this page. If, however, you do want deal shares or use CFDs, simply select one of the brokers in the table above and get started.
How to choose a broker
With the wide variety of online brokers available these days, it can be hard to figure out which is the best service to go with. Our comparison table and in-depth reviews can help you cut through the noise, but by and large these are the aspects you should be considering when selecting a broker:
- Range of stocks available. The most important thing is that the shares you’re looking for are actually available through your broker platform. Some brokers offer more stocks than others, and many will allow you to trade other assets, such as forex and commodities.
- Fees and commissions. You want to keep as large a chunk of your profits as you can, so it’s important to make sure your broker doesn’t charge high fees that can eat into your profits.
- Regulation. You should only use regulated brokers to place trades and hold your shares. Unregulated brokers can be risky and offer little to no protection if the business were to fail while you had funds in your account.
- Payment methods available. You fund your trading account with a specific payment method, such as PayPal. Not all brokers accept every payment method, but using our comparisons you can search only the brokers that support the option you’re looking for.
- Reputation. One of the strongest indicators of a broker’s reliability is the reputation it has with the customers who have used it. Brokers are online businesses, and as such many user experiences can be found online. You can check these out in addition to our reviews to make sure you choose the right platform.
- Customer service. As you’re going to be investing your money using the platform, you want to check that the broker offers good customer service in case you have a query or something goes wrong.
Latest AT&T news
As AT&T delivers solid quarterly performance, is it time to invest?
Did Jim Cramer justifiably add AT&T execs to his wall of shame?
Discovery shareholders shouldn’t celebrate just yet: DOJ will ‘very closely’ evaluate the media deal
AT&T tops analysts’ estimates for profit and revenue in fiscal Q4
AT&T to cut workforce in Slovakia as COVID-19 continues to weigh on demand
AT&T says its revenue tanked 5.0% in the fiscal third quarter
Try some of our stock market courses for beginners
Still not ready to invest? No problem. You can learn more with our easy-to-follow educational courses. Once you’ve gained a better grasp of the nuances of investing, you’ll be better equipped to buy AT&T shares.
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Fact-checking & references
Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.
Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >