As I have observed in the past Thursday seems to be popular day for corporates to put out results and consequently, like today, we often end up with a throng of results on a Thursday.
So I'll cover in brief a few that I have mentioned in the past which are in size order Rolls Royce, Restaurant Group, Safestore & Norcros. So if any of those are of interest then click the read more.
Further to my post on Monday, the TalkTalk (TALK) interims are out and look OK as they say they are on track to meet forecasts before the costs of the cyber attack. Therefore it seems they have decided to tough it out despite the estimated cost of £30 to £35 million for cyber attack which represents a hit of about 25% to their expected net profit for this year . So they have decided to increase the interim by the promised 15% and say the expect to grow the final by 15% too. So it seems my fears of a dividend cut were unfounded for now and unsurprisingly the shares have had a bounce as a result.
Today we have had a Q3 trading update from ITV the UK commercial broadcaster which may be worth watching as it has a Compound Income Score of 96 and features in the Scores Portfolio although, like the market it has not done much since in was purchased in April this year.
After last weeks shock announcement of a 50% cut in AMEC's dividend on the back of the downturn in oil services. I thought today I would talk about a likely dividend cut which may well be delivered this week. The stock concerned is TalkTalk (TALK) who are due to report an update on Wednesday and who have been in the news for all the wrong reasons given their data breach recently, although this was not the first time this has happened to them.
When I last wrote on this one back in July this year I finished up by saying "...they have continued increasing the dividend rapidly and the cover has therefore eroded to around 1x. Thus the strongly growing 4% yield seems attractive on the face of it, but it may be vulnerable to the forecast growth slowing or stopping if they don't end up delivering the growth in profits and cash flow that they are expecting. Otherwise the shares don't seem that attractive on other valuation metrics like the PE of 25x so a hold at best for yield I would say."
At the time they were suggesting the growth would be second half weighted and given the hack, the likely increased costs on the back of it and increased price competition I fear that the growth will not now be forthcoming and that dividend will now have to be cut given the debt and the limited cover. This is indicated by the score of 28 & 12 for financial security and cover on the Compound Income Scores (CIS). In addition they have already seen steady downgrades prior to this so the estimate revision score is also already very poor at just 8. Thus despite the decent yield and strong forecast growth the shares only Score 20 on the CIS overall (100 is best).
Even though the shares have already tanked on the back of the hack (see chart below) I think there could be further downside from here because profits estimates may be downgraded again and the dividend now likely to be cut or passed completely at the interim stage according to a Citigroup analyst when he said:
‘We think that TalkTalk were already slipping in customer numbers before their website was hacked. In their results next week we’re expecting TalkTalk to suspend its guidance, skip its interim dividend and provide an update on customer orders and cancellations in the wake of the security breach.’ (see this report at Thisismoney.co.uk for more details).
So it now looks like a sell to me, even down here, as a halving of the dividend to 6.9p and say a 4% yield again would suggest <180p. In terms of cash flow (for shareholders) I suppose it could be worse as if they do pass the interim and then say halve the final and following interim they'll only be looking at 4.6p or a 2% yield for this year based on Friday's price of 226p which reinforces the sell case for me, I note the shares are already off by 5% this morning in response to the press articles.
Of course I could be wrong, despite what the figures suggest and they may choose to tough it out and maintain the dividend, which would lead to a bounce and we'll only have to wait until Wednesday to find out.
Just a quick note to let you know that the Compound Income Scores (CIS) have been updated today as normal. Talking of Scores we had a 9 Q3 IMS to the end of September from Schroders (SDR) yesterday a stock which features in the Compound Income Scores Portfolio and it currently has a CIS of 84.
These looked pretty good with the Profit before tax and exceptional items up 12 per cent. to £453.2 million (2014: £404.4 million) which as far as I can tell seems to roughly in line with or slightly ahead of full year forecasts. Encouragingly they also saw a 5% rise in Assets under management to £294.8 billion (30 September 2014: £276.2 billion) which was helped by Net inflows £8.3 billion (2014: £7.0 billion). While Michael Dobson the Chief Executive said: "These results reflect the resilience of our diversified business at a time of heightened market volatility."
The voting shares at 3000p currently trade on a fairish looking rating of around 16x with a 3% or so yield. For private investors it is worth bearing in mind, if you are not aware of it, that there area also Non Voting (SDRC) shares available which trade at around 2300p and are therefore trading at a discount to the ordinaries of around 23%. However, since private investors are largely disenfranchised by the nominee system and have holdings which are too small to have any influence, then these would be a good way to get exposure to this one if that is something you wanted to do. By doing this you are getting the same economic exposure and you get the same dividend so the rating is then a much more attractive 12 to 13x with a 3.7% yield.