Some top FTSE 100 stocks will be bringing us updates in November. Here are five I’ll be watching, and what I’ll be looking for.
BP will deliver Q3 results on 2 November. The shares took a big hit when BP announced its Net Zero policy in 2020, and reduced its dividend to a new base. Since then, the shares have been coming back nicely, boosted by the company’s own share buyback programme.
The Q2 dividend was lifted a little, already up on the new rebased level. I’ll be looking for further dividend news for the third quarter. I’m increasingly confident that the new dividend will be maintained progressively, and I’ll be looking for news that strengthens that hope.
Dividend or debt?
It’s first half time for BT Group on 4 November. BT has had a rocky 2021, climbing sharply to a Summer peak. But it’s since dived equally spectacularly. The threat from a broadband tie-up between Sky and Virgin Media O2 hasn’t helped there.
What I’m hoping for and expecting to see are two different things. I’d love to see BT move away from its desire to lift its dividend and instead focus on reducing its massive debt mountain. Oh, and that annoying pension fund deficit.
But BT has already been hinting at raising its dividend, and that does seem to please the big FTSE 100 investors. So I expect I’ll be disappointed.
Q3 for International Consolidated Airlines on is 5 November. The IAG share price has gone off the boil of late. And I’ve been talking of my fears that the early 2021 recovery might have been a bit too optimistic.
The update comes amid fears that the aviation business could take longer than expected to get back to full strength. So what will IAG need to do for the shares to head upwards again? It’s surely all about passenger capacity, and how much it will have improved in the third quarter.
In particular, I’ll be looking for any thoughts on how soon the British Airways owner might get back to 2019 passenger numbers.
Big FTSE 100 dividend
Imperial Brands brings us full-year results on 16 November. Forecasts suggest a dividend yield of around 9%, as tobacco company shares remain largely out of favour.
I expect business as usual. I want to see how the company’s premium brands are progressing, as we need high margin products to compensate for overall falling volumes. The move to alternative tobacco products will be key to the future, so I want to see volume growth there.
I don’t know if the Imperial share price will regain lost ground. But if not, existing shareholders should hopefully carry on pocketing one of the FTSE 100’s top dividend yields.
Royal Mail will post first-half figures on 18 November. The company has pulled back from its industrial relations problems. And it’s been making progress in its transformation plan to improve competitiveness.
Covid-19 helped with parcel volumes, and that gave Royal Mail shares a boost. As that benefit recedes, the price has fallen back, but it’s still nicely ahead over the past two years. Hopefully, there won’t be too much impact on parcel volumes now we’re heading away from the pandemic. I’ll be trying to get a feel for sustainable long-term volumes, and for an update on renewed dividend progress.
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