BT shares rise following EPL rights deal

European equity markets have remained rudderless in the early trading session, with the FTSE unable to decide whether it wants to be up or down on the day.

BT logo
Source: Bloomberg

Today will see another Eurogroup meeting in Brussels with fewer than three weeks until Greece hits its debt deadlines. Discussing the flexibility towards the Greek government's position looks set to dominate the day’s discussions.

Over the week equity markets have increasingly factored in some form of bridging loan facility, which in true euro fashion will kick the can a little further down the road while doing nothing to change the fundamentals. Considering how unyielding the German chancellor and finance minister have been towards changing any of the current terms, a delay in making the tough decisions may be the best of a bad bunch of options available to Syriza.

Even before the end of February we have a clear winner for this season’s English Premier League, with both players and agents cracking open the bubbly following last night’s news that the next three years of coverage has been sold for an eye-popping £5.14 billion. BT has come out of the bidding in far greater shape than Sky as it has managed to maintain its share of coverage while avoiding the 70% increase in fees that Sky has had to fork out. This was confirmed by the 3% rise seen in BT’s shares this morning compared to the 3% fall in Sky’s shares.

The continued weakness in the oil price has forced Tullow Oil to scrap its dividend payments after the oil and gas explorer posted pre-tax losses of $2.05 billion. Smartphone chipmaker of choice ARM Holdings has posted fourth-quarter profits up by over 25%, boosted by the resilient sales of Apple phones in China. 

A late flourish in the US reporting season will see numerous big names reporting their quarterly figures today; most notably Tesla, Time Warner, Cisco, PepsiCo and AOL. This reporting season has seen over 60% of the major US corporations reporting beat their expected earnings per share target, and the impressiveness of this is somewhat diluted when you consider that the last few years have seen that ratio above 70%.

Ahead of the open we expect the Dow Jones to start 48 points lower at 17,820.

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