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AT&T CEO Still Sees Plenty of Capital for Deals

AT&TChairman and Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told CNBC that the company will still have plenty of capital for acquisitions next year, even though the company is planning a share buyback program and a dividend increase.

Stephenson declined to comment on any specific transactions.

AT&T shares were recently trading higher extending a rally that began on Tuesday when the top U.S. phone company announced its biggest-ever dividend increase and a share buyback program worth nearly $16 billion.

AT&T , at an annual meeting with analysts on Tuesday, said it would raise its quarterly dividend to 40 cents a share from 35.5 cents, and buy back 400 million shares by the end of 2009.

The company also forecast double-digit percentage growth in adjusted earnings per share in 2008 and mid-teens percentage growth in revenue from its wireless business, including the newly acquired Dobson Communications.

On Wednesday, Stephenson told CNBC that he did not expect a recession, but a slowdown is "inevitable."

He said he was seeing an increase in customers who have been disconnected for non-payments, which he said can be a "harbinger of economic uncertainty."

Prepaid wireless plans also were showing signs of softening.

Stephenson added he was not seeing any change in corporate technology spending in 2007 to 2008.