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Disconnection at BT?

New BT CEO Ian Livingston is fighting market prejudice. The telecom sector remains unloved. Most of the sector analysts are struggling to be positive about the pricing environment, and the pinch on consumer spending is only set to worsen.

Throw into the mix a market skeptical about the sustainability of corporate profits and you have a tough audience to announce your first set of quarterly earnings to as the new man in charge!

Going into the release, BT's shares had already lost more than 35 percent over the last 12 months. Today they were sold down another 10 percent when the market opened as the company reported a 15 percent drop in pre-tax profit.

Operating profit for the reported quarter was up just 1 percent, which was just below expectations. Elsewhere, according to analysts, investors were concerned about the weak margin at the Global Services business, poor cash-flow generation and the impact on BT's pension deficit of falling equity markets.

Revenue came in better than expected, but by this point the market was in no mood to listen.

In spite of the market's reaction on this quarter's scorecard management remains upbeat. We spoke to Ian Livingston on "Squawk Box" and the guidance was still very positive –- the outlook for new business is strong and critically he said there would be no adjustment to the positive full year forecasts for revenue growth, dividends and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization.

The pressure is now on Ian Livingston to deliver the goods. The market may be prepared to cut him some slack as new CEO, but not much given he was part of the previous management team under Ben Verwaayen.

As the new man this was the quarter to announce any bad news that could be attached to the outgoing chief. But next quarter will have to be sharper. Livingston will have to make the 15 percent EBITDA margin target for the Global Services business and deliver an improvement on Wholesale which sells network access to corporates, Internet and mobile service providers.

Interestingly the Retail unit that Livingston used to head up is expected to produce "solid" EBITDA growth this year.

At less than 200p a share, the market is questioning Livingston's ability to execute on these goals. The good news then is that if he produces then there is all likelihood that the stock will have to be re-rated to the upside by the analysts.