Eyes on Unilever and Moneysupermarket ahead of Thursday updates

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On Thursday Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR) will update investors on its third-quarter numbers, following second-quarter sales that came in way above expectations. Q3 sales are expected to rise 1.3% as per consensus, which is below the consumer goods company’s long-term goal of 2% to 4% but remains defensive in coronavirus pandemic times.

In a preview, AJ Bell noted that developed markets, especially the US, have been more resilient than emerging markets, which is why sales of household care, cleaning and in-home products have held up better than more discretionary items such as ice-cream and beauty products.

Analysts will look at the group’s underlying performance as well as any comments on full-year underlying operating profit guidance, which consensus currently places at €9.7bn, a touch below last year’s €10bn.

That would imply an improvement in the underlying operating margin to 19.3% from 19.1% as Unilever strives to get to its 20% target.

The market will also look for updates on the tea business, expected to be placed into a separate entity by the end of 2021, as well as the unification of the FTSE 100-lited firm at its headquarters in London.

Moneysupermarket in the cart

Moneysupermarket.com PLC (LON:MONY) is releasing an update on Thursday where investors will look for news on the insurance market and the money vertical, which have been relatively weak. The market is also wondering how the energy Autosave product launch went, and when the new chief executive will unveil news on the group strategy.

Peel Hunt noted that the price comparison website is cash generative and still paying a dividend, and the share price is at a level off which it has bounced three times in the last five years.

Thursday October 22

Trading updates: Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR), Anglo American PLC (LON:AAL), AJ Bell PLC (LON:AJB), Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC (LON:MONY), Rentokil Initial PLC (LON:RTO), Secure Trust Bank PLC (LON:STB), Spectris PLC (LON:SXS), Travis Perkins PLC (LON:TPK), RELX PLC (LON:REL), Polymetal International PLC (LON:POLY), GB Group PLC (LON:GBG)

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to knock 1.71 points off the index: BAE Systems PLC (LON:BA.), Smiths Group PLC (LON:SMIN)

Economic data: US jobless claims, US home sales

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