Thursday preview: US-China trade talks and BT Group in the spotlight

updated: 30 January 2019 at 4:50pm Author: Alexander Bueso

(Sharecast News) - All eyes on Thursday will be on the ongoing trade talks in Washington between the US and China, even as investors digest the result of the US central bank's policy announcement from the night before and a quarterly update from another tech heavyweight, Microsoft.
Against that backdrop, investors will also be waiting on the results of consultancy GfK's UK consumer confidence survey for January, alongside data on UK house prices from Nationwide.

Stateside, company earnings will continue to be in focus, including those from (after the closing bell), Altria, General Electric, International Paper, Northrop Grumman and Sprint.

Across the Channel, preliminary monthly CPI readings from France, Spain and Portugal are all due out, together with speeches from two top European Central Bank officials.

The ECB's Benoit Coeure is due to speak at the 14th BCBS-FSI high-level meeting for Africa, in Cape Town, at 0800 GMT, with Yves Mersch set to follow close behind, at 1015 GMT.

On the corporate side of things, BT Group will be in the spotlight.

Numis's John Karidis is expecting a bounce in the company's shares as updates markets on third quarter trading, given management's confidence in its ability to hit guidance and the fact that the shares remain undervalued, among other reasons.

The stock was trading at roughly 10.5 times's the adjusted price-to-earnings multiple for the company's shares, versus its peers on 14.4.

For the Enterprise arm, consensus is probably expecting no improvement and for Consumer a 2% rise in sales and a 10% jump in operating profits.

At Openreach, consensus was likely expecting sales and EBITDA down by 8.% and 20% year-on-year, respectively, he said.

"Looking at BT s current valuation from another angle, if Openreach is worth 8-10x FY20 EBITDA (we think this is reasonable), then the rest of BT right now trades at 3.5-4.3x FY19 EBITDA."

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