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Next week on the stock market

We take a look at what to expect from a selection of FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and selected other companies reporting next week.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

The start of February brings with it another week jam-packed with heavy-hitters. Amazon and Alphabet round out the FAANGs’ results, with both names expected to benefit from the global shift to remote working. But for others, like Ryanair and Royal Dutch Shell, minimising damage and waiting out the storm is the most likely narrative.

  • Activision Blizzard’s fourth quarter results could be a little underwhelming compared to recent results.
  • Spotify should benefit from further lockdowns, but the outlook for profits is less upbeat.
  • BT will tell us how the new lockdown is affecting business demand.

FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and selected other stocks scheduled to report next week

01-Feb
Hargreaves Lansdown Half Year Results
Ryanair* Q3 Results
02-Feb
Alphabet* Q4 Results
Amazon* Q4 Results
BP* Q4 Results
DCC Interim Trading Statement
SSE* Q3 Trading Statement
Virgin Money Q1 Trading Statement
03-Feb
GlaxoSmithKline* Q4 Results
Glencore Full Year Production Volumes
Hiscox Full Year Results
Imperial Brands* AGM Statement
Novo Nordisk* Full Year Results
Spotify* Q4 Results
Vodafone* Q3 Trading Statement
04-Feb
Activision Blizzard* Q4 Results
Barratt Developments* Half Year Results
BT* Q3 Trading Statement
Compass Group* Q1 Trading Statement
Cranswick Q3 Trading Statement
Renishaw Half Year Results
Royal Dutch Shell* Q4 Results
Severn Trent* Q3 Trading Statement
Snap* Q4 Results
UK Commercial Property REIT Net Asset Value
Unilever* Full Year Results
05-Feb
Beazley Full Year Results

*Companies on which we will be writing research.

Activision Blizzard– Sophie Lund-Yates, Equity Analyst

Activision is expected to finish the year on stable footing, but Q4 could be somewhat underwhelming after the group’s bumper performance during the first 9 months of the year. Revenues in the third quarter were up 52.4% as lockdowns forced people to entertain themselves at home. But Q4 is expected to see revenue remain broadly flat as the group begins to wade into a year of difficult comparisons.

In March 2020 the group launched the hugely popular Call of Duty: Warzone. In the absence of another bumper launch, Activision may find it difficult to best its Q1 performance.

The group released Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War in November, and we’re curious to see how user numbers stack up against Warzone’s. With no other big-name releases scheduled this year, we’re keen to see how Activision plans to maintain excitement around its franchise (hopefully) in the absence of Covid.

To keep up with its ballooning valuation, we think Activision will need to wow investors with plans for the upcoming financial year. That makes the outlook statement and any strategy updates worth watching closely. With gaming shifting to the cloud, we’re specifically interested in how management plans to drive advertising spend at esports tournaments and grow its existing franchises.

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Spotify - Sophie Lund-Yates, Equity Analyst

Subscriber numbers remain the most important metric to watch at Spotify. Lockdowns worked wonders for this, as consumers cooped up inside looked for alternative entertainment. The number of monthly active users and premium subscribers (those who pay to use the ad-free version) rose 29% and 27% respectively last quarter. With restrictions tightening again in many countries, we have reason to suspect another round of impressive subscriber growth.

The Spotify machine relies on signing up new members, a decent chunk of which will then become paying subscribers. Last we heard, these sign ups were being driven partly by extended free trials. This is an effective marketing tactic, but one that damages profitability in the short term. As a result, quarterly operating profits are expected to remain negative, with losses of between €112m and €32m. Despite that Spotify expects to deliver positive free cash flow for the year.

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BT – Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst

The first half of BT’s financial year was marred by the pandemic forcing sport off the TV and a decline in business demand. Revenues for BT Sport should have started to recover, thanks to special exemptions for elite athletes and associated staff, but are still likely to be depressed and will probably remain so until pubs are back up and running.

Demand from some business customers could also be suffering in lockdown 3.0, but we doubt to the same degree. Businesses have more experience with social distancing now than they did last March and that should help operations to keep ticking-over. Management’s view on this subject will be interesting.

In its half year results BT raised the lower end of its cash profits guidance range from £7.2bn to £7.3bn. The upper end of the range stayed at £7.5bn. Given the relative predictability of much of BT’s core business we don’t expect a large swing outside that range.

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Unless otherwise stated estimates are a consensus of analyst forecasts provided by Refinitiv. These estimates are not a reliable indicator of future performance. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Investments and income they produce can rise and fall in value so investors could make a loss.

This article is not advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any investment. No view is given on the present or future value or price of any investment, and investors should form their own view on any proposed investment. This article has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is considered a marketing communication. Non-independent research is not subject to FCA rules prohibiting dealing ahead of research, however HL has put controls in place (including dealing restrictions, physical and information barriers) to manage potential conflicts of interest presented by such dealing. Please see our full non-independent research disclosure for more information.


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    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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