Global Coalition to Defeat Isis meets, results from Burberry and Vodafone
Daniel Garrahan looks at some of the top stories the FT will be watching, including a foreign ministers' meeting in Washington on tackling the terrorist group, how Burberry's new designer is helping the brand and how Vodafone's recovery plan is working
Filmed by Petros Gioumpasis and Nicola Stansfield. Written by Aime Williams, Jonathan Eley, Nic Fildes, and Daniel Garrahan. Produced by Daniel Garrahan.
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Here are just some of the stories the Financial Times will be watching in the week ahead. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo hosts a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat Isis. There's half-year results at Burberry. Will Italian designer Riccardo Tisci's appointment begin to bear fruit? And all eyes will be on Vodafone chief executive Nick Read's recovery plan, as the telecom group reports first-half results.
First to Washington, where US secretary of state Mike Pompeo will host foreign ministers from allied countries on Thursday. It's the first time the Global Coalition to Defeat Isis will meet, following the death of Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But Kenneth McKenzie is under no illusions over the continuing potency of the terrorist group. The US general in charge of the military's operations in the Middle East has warned of some form of retribution attack.
The meeting follows Washington's decision to withdraw troops from northeast Syria. According to the State Department, foreign ministers will discuss Mr al-Baghdadi's death, as well as the recent developments in Syria.
Top US generals have warned that even though al-Baghdadi has been killed by forces, the ideology of Isis lives on. It'll also be the first time that the foreign ministers have met since the US made its controversial decision to withdraw a small number of troops from northeast Syria, which some critics have said greenlighted Turkey's incursion into the area and attacking US allied Kurdish forces.
In the meeting US allies are very likely to bring up this decision by the US to withdraw their troops but Mike Pompeo says the discussion will be about the strategy to defeat Isis and prevent its resurgence going forward.
Now Riccardo Tisci's appointment to Burberry was announced in March last year. But only now is the Italian designer's work filling the rails in the company's stores. Since the first collection was shown in September 2018, Burberry's talked of social media reaction and brand heat. At half-year results on Thursday there's a chance to assess the financial impact.
Analysts expect a 4 per cent rise in worldwide same-store sales. A key question is whether recent unrest in Hong Kong will reduce that. It's home to 10 Burberry stores. And according to Jeffries, around 8 per cent of sales. Much may depend upon the extent to which any lost sales are recaptured elsewhere, either in China itself, or by Chinese consumers travelling abroad.
The company compiled consensus forecasts for adjusted operating profit of £175m. But what Burberry says about the second half, which includes Christmas and Chinese new year may be more important.
Here are three things to look out for. Number one, how well is Riccardo Tisci's ranges selling? The Italian designer was appointed over a year ago. It takes time for his designs to filter through to the stores. This could be the first time we get an indication of how well they are selling.
Secondly, disruption in Hong Kong. Months of riots and unrest on the streets have surely affected Burberry sales there. The question is by how much. Thirdly, the impact of Brexit. A weak pound is good for Burberry, because most of its revenue is made outside of the UK.
But sterling has strengthened recently, and it will be interesting to see what the company has to say about what that means for the second half, which by the way, is the most important trading period for the company, as it includes Christmas and the Chinese new year festival.
And finally, first-half results at Vodafone land in what's been an eventful reporting season for Europe's largest telecoms companies. Vodafone has struggled to deliver a consistent performance across markets, including Spain, Turkey, South Africa, and the UK. In July, it beat expectations in the first quarter, driving a 10 per cent rise in its struggling share price.
It then hailed the quarter as a turning point. But Nick Read's first year as chief executive has certainly been eventful. After getting the takeover of Liberty Global's central European assets over the line, Europe's largest telecoms takeover in more than a decade, he then cut the dividend for the first time in Vodafone's history.
He pushed through a plan to separate and sell off the company's enormous tower estate, while launching 5G services in key markets, like the UK and Germany. Any slip-ups during the half-year numbers, and Mr Read's recovery plan could come under further pressure.
Vodafone's first-quarter results in July were unusual. The company said it had reached a turning point and the shares rose 10 per cent, which hadn't happened for years. This was because Vodafone has tended to have a haphazard performance every time it reports results. Somewhere in the global empire - India, Turkey, Spain - always seems to be coming off the boil. Maintaining that consistency will be key to underpinning the gradual rise in Vodafone's share price this year.
However, there are two big question marks in the first half. We have Germany, where Vodafone has spent 18bn euros to bulk up in Europe's largest telecoms market. Showing early signs of improvement and possibly growth there will be key to getting that share price kick-started.
Also India, this has been a bugbear for Vodafone investors for many years. Vodafone has merged with a rival. However, its joint venture in the country looks to be on the brink after a key ruling went against it. Mr Read will have to reassure people it doesn't have to put more money in there.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London.