Staying Long AT&T, or Taking Flight?

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To the Editor:
I’m staying long


(“AT&T Was Punished for Its Dividend Cut. It’s Time to Buy the Stock,” Cover Story, May 21). Even if CEO John Stankey doesn’t move the stock up, I believe that Discovery will turn out to be a winner. Here’s why: 1) spectacular content, unlike other services; 2) John Malone endorsed this deal, and I don’t believe he would have done so unless he felt the deal added tremendous value; and 3) eventually, it’s possible that Discovery will be acquired by




All three companies are going to spend billions on controlling streaming in the future. I expect


to be the first to be sold, once controlling shareholder Shari Redstone realizes that there’s no chance of going it alone. Let’s see what happens over the next five to 10 years.

Dan Buffettman, On

To the Editor:
Whether or not the AT&T/Discovery move makes financial sense, AT&T has done serious damage to its and its leadership’s reputations. The news regarding future dividend policy was buried on page 5 of the announcement release, just above the deal’s boilerplate.

As a retired investor relations professional, I can say that this is akin to releasing bad news on a Friday, hoping to lessen its impact. What investor-relations professional, chief financial officer, or—really—CEO could sign off on a release that buried one of the key reasons that investors bought and stuck with this stock, given all of the recent assurances regarding maintaining the dividend?

Trust takes years to build. AT&T has, to my thinking, destroyed much of it. And they knew that’s exactly what would happen.

Charles A. Nekvasil, Columbus, Ohio

Oil’s Future

To the Editor:
Regarding “Big Oil’s Transition to Cleaner Energy Is Risky. How Investors Can Prepare” (Barron’s Guide to Wealth, May 21): While it is true that oil “demand won’t grow to the sky,” there are other factors at work that will prevent oil from becoming a “depreciating asset.”

Consider the concept of depletion, meaning that oil-well production naturally declines on average 5% per annum. Oil demand destruction caused by the pandemic effectively masked (no pun intended) the supply decline from natural depletion, plus the flight of capital and labor away from exploration and production since 2015.

We are in for a rude awakening when energy consumption rebounds and the gap between supply and demand cannot be filled by renewables.

Mark Huhndorff, Dallas

Good Questions

To the Editor:
Regarding Leslie P. Norton’s panel discussion (“12 Investment Picks From Our ESG Roundtable Pros,”Barron’s Guide to Wealth, May 21), perhaps it was Katherine Collins’ point about the ESG framework opening up new lines of questioning of CEOs that inspired me the most. That’s because it’s what I do regularly at annual meetings as a long-term-focused ESG and impact-oriented investor.

Said Collins: “It is so rare for the CEO of any major company to be asked a sincere, open-ended curious question about a topic of vital importance. The dialog that can ensue is amazing.”

Let’s bring it on, Barron’s readers. The first step in change is to be heard. The second is presenting a new vision.

John Norwood, West Des Moines, Iowa

Fed Distortion

To the Editor:
Randall W. Forsyth’s column, “The Fed Might Start to Act Sooner to Head Off Housing Boom and Bust. What Could Happen,” (Up & Down Wall Street, May 21), is excellent, but he is too diplomatic when it comes to the Federal Reserve continuing to buy mortgages. Specifically, I’d rewrite two sentences.

1) “There seems little justification to stoke housing demand” should be, “There is no justification to stoke housing demand;” and 2) “The Fed might be exacerbating those problems” should be, “The Fed is exacerbating those problems.”

With the Fed’s postcrisis mortgage portfolio at $2.3 trillion (plus a lot of unamortized premium) and heading up, its distorting effects as the world’s biggest savings and loan are clear.

Alex J. Pollock

R Street Institute

Washington, D.C.

Valuing Cryptos

To the Editor:
Investors support innovations that may improve a society’s productivity, and get rewarded for contributing to the positive changes (“Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Had Another Crazy Week. Here’s What Could Happen Next,” May 21).

Electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing could be the most recent examples—if we step in when the valuation looks reasonable. What improvements have cryptocurrencies brought to the society as a whole? I believe that blockchains have great potential for improving productivities in many fields, but that could be totally separate from cryptos.

It’s obvious to me that Tesla’s decision on Bitcoin payment is less about environmental concerns than a result of the coming crackdown from the Chinese government; the timing says a lot.

Xiying Yang, On

Py’s Phaeacians

To the Editor:
I was surprised that Pierre Py named his new funds after the seafaring Phaeacians (“The Next Generation of Would-Be Buffetts—and the Stocks They’re Buying Now,” May 21). Angry at the Phaeacians for helping his foe Odysseus, the god Poseidon punished them by turning their ship into stone as it entered the harbor at Scheria.

Obviously, Poseidon’s wrath doesn’t worry Py. At least he didn’t name his fund after Cassandra.

Robert Ray, Irvine, Calif.

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