Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
There’s a Q3 trading update out from telecoms giant BT [LON:BT] this morning, with the bottom line being a performance that has underwhelmed management. Results are slightly below expectations as the company tackles a series of regulatory headwinds and sees falling sales of legacy services. The overall outlook is maintained, although normalised free cash flow is tipped to be towards the lower end of full year guidance owing to timing reasons.
Full year numbers from another heavyweight with Unilever [LON:ULVR] posting results today. Underlying sales growth is up 2.9% with the company reporting that as being split between price and volume growth. This is however slightly below expectations and the company’s performance in China could leave it vulnerable. Signs of market weakness had already been flagged here but impact of the growing scale of the Coronavirus outbreak remains an unknown. Across the group, sales growth for the first half of the current financial is again expected to be below 3%.
A solid set of half year results from Diageo [LON:DGE] round off today’s note, with net sales up 4.2%, organic operating profits up 4.6% and shareholders are being rewarded with a 5% increase in dividends as a result. The company acknowledges the uncertainty that’s lingering in the global trade environment and anticipates organic sales growth for the full year as being towards the lower end of the ongoing 4-6% guidance range. That dividend uplift may however be what stands out amongst investors.
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