Telstra shares could deliver pleasant surprise this earnings season: Goldman

Hold the phone! Telstra has been tipped to positively surprise this month…

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Telstra Group Ltd (ASX: TLS) shares have started 2023 relatively positively.

Since the start of the year, the telco giant's shares have risen 3.2%.

The good news is that one leading broker believes there's plenty more in the tank.

In fact, it suspects that the company's half year result this month could get Telstra shares hurtling higher.

Are Telstra shares about to get a boost?

According to a note out of Goldman Sachs, its analysts have named Telstra as one of ten buy-rated ASX shares that it believes could surprise positively during earnings season.

According to the note, the broker is forecasting Telstra to deliver a first half EBITDA result 2% ahead of consensus estimates thanks to top line momentum. The broker expects this to offset higher costs and support its earnings. It explained:

We expect TLS to deliver a solid result (GSe +2% vs. 1H23 VA Consensus EBITDA), with top line momentum more than offsetting the higher costs. We see strong revenue trends, particularly in mobiles, driven by higher pricing, solid subscriber growth (aided by population growth & competitor issues), alongside a recovery in international roaming.

Telstra will also benefit from the contribution of Digicel during the half. However we expect costs will also be higher, impacted by call-centre onshoring and the prior acquisition of its retail stores.

All in all, Goldman expects this to allow Telstra to increase its interim dividend to 8.5 cents per share.

How high could its shares climb?

Goldman currently has a buy rating and $4.60 price target on Telstra's shares.

Based on where they are trading now, this implies potential upside of over 11% for investors.

And if you add in the 4.1% dividend yield the broker is forecasting over the next 12 months, the total potential return is approximately 15.5%.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Telstra Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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