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Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Raises AT&T to Strong Buy

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter upgraded its investment rating on telecom blue-chip AT&T > (T) to strong buy from neutral, noting catalysts could move the stock in the next six to nine months.

Analyst Simon Flanery said following a sharp drop in 2000, he believes the stock discounts an overly negative outlook. The company's proposed four-way breakup should help unlock substantial value for shareholders, Flanery said. The company's cable business is at an "inflection point," and the wireless division is continuing to show strong growth.

Flanery remains cautious about the long-distance business, but believes investors are essentially getting this part of the business for free at current AT&T valuations. He set a 12-month target of $35.

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