On Friday 30 January BT is due to report third quarter figures. The adjusted earnings per share are expected to increase from £0.069 to £0.075, while sales are thought to improve fractionally from £4.441 billion up to £4.478 billion. Pre-tax profits should jump from £563 million up to £707 million.
Of the 26 institutional analysts who cover the company, 14 have them as a buy, six as holds and six as sells. The average price target for the next 12 months is 448p, while the current price of 423p only offers 4.5% upside.
The last quarter also saw speculation the group would decide to acquire. Having previously owned O2, it was always a little less likely it would go back to them. Both Orange and T-Mobile are under the EE brand umbrella, but with less than 20% of new subscribers coming through them and a license fee being incurred with them, this will probably be an operation and cost that BT will be keen to get rid of.
The last six months have seen BT predominantly trade in a range between 360p and 420p, but recently it has broken above this. As much as the shares may be overbought, the moving averages have proven broadly supportive and improving quarterly figures should help keep the shares moving higher.