28th October 2013
This week sees Standard Chartered, Barclays, Next and BT update the market – we look at what brokers are recommending to investors.
Standard Chartered delivers its third quarter interim report on Tuesday. Its share price has underperformed of late as a result of growing concerns over a slowdown in emerging markets. In the past year it has only edged up 1% and fallen by 6% in the last six months.
The broker consensus on share data website Digital Look is ‘neutral’ and Sheridan Admans, investment research manager at The Share Centre currently lists Standard Chartered as a ‘hold’. He says: “Followers of the stock will be looking at the effects of volatile currencies, increasing costs, regulatory issues and most importantly, will the company hit its earnings targets for the year.”
On Wednesday high street fashion retailer Next updates with its third quarter interim results. Its had a strong 12 months with its shares up 44% and the last three months have seen them rise by 7%. The broker consensus has it a ‘hold’ on Digital Look, as does Admans. He says: “Next reported a strong set of half year results in September and investors will be keen to see if this performance has continued in to this quarter. The retailer continues to focus on its online business and expand its retail space, while remaining focused on cost saving.”
Barclays reports its third quarter results on Wednesday. Rival banks with significant Investment Banking operations have reported tough trading during the quarter, particularly for their fixed income and currency businesses says Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.
The past 12 months have seen the stock rise 25% but fall by 10% over the last three. The broker consensus still has the stock pointing towards a ‘buy’ on Digital Look. Bowman says: “Uncertainty in relation to both US Central Bank policy – expected tapering which did not happen – and stalemate in Washington have underwritten the difficulties.
“Barclays is also expected to suffer, although like rivals, cost cutting and better conditions for its retail bank are likely to counterbalance. Pre-tax profit is forecast to retreat by around 7%. Prior to the news and with the company still seen as correlated to expected ongoing economic recovery, analyst opinion denotes a ‘buy’.”
Thursday sees BT report its second quarter results and investors will be looking to see if modernisation at BT is continuing to deliver notes Admans. He says: “This includes demand for high speed broadband, sign ups to BT’s Sports channel, momentum in rising orders at its global services operation and cost cutting.”
The firm’s stock has however enjoyed a strong rise of 65% in the past 12 months and it is up 7% in the last three. Admans, who is backing the stock, rating it a ‘buy’ says: “We will be keen to see if the drag in BT’s European operation has slowed, lessening the impact on its global services. An update on its emerging market expansion plans will also be of interest.”