Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Smith & Nephew
It’s a busy day for blue chips reporting, so starting with Smith & Nephew [LON:SN], the medical technology business has a Q3 trading statement out today. Business was hit hard earlier in the year as hospitals side-lined elective procedures to cleat beds for COVID patients. Something of a recovery has been seen, with sales just 3.7% lower than the same period a year earlier and the US being the best performing territory. Whilst the company is positive about the business model and medium term outlook, visibility in the shorter term remains difficult given the scope for fresh COVID restrictions to impact sales.
Half year numbers are out from BT Group [LON:BT.A] this morning and top line figures don’t look great. Revenues are off 8% with the company citing a fall in BT Sports sales as a key driver here. Customers worried by the economic fall out of COVID-19 are looking to save cash and products like this are clearly seen as far from essential. The company has however made a series of efficiency gains during the year, which has given them confidence to raise the lower range of the EBITDA forecast. Right now however with pre-tax profits down by 20% and that revenue dip being bigger than expected, investors may struggle to find much confidence.
Lloyds Banking Group
Some positive news from Lloyds Bank [LON:LLOY] which published Q3 numbers today. After unexpected losses in the first half of the year, the jump back to profitability is likely to be well received, whilst bad debt provisions are also being scaled back. There’s still uncertainty over the short term but the bank believes it is well positioned to deliver long term returns given its efficiencies and strong balance sheet.
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