5 Opportunities for the Week Ahead
LONDON -- We have yet more important interim results coming next week from companies in the FTSE 100 and other FTSE indices, and there look to be some potential opportunities among them.
So here are five that you might like to dig into a little before the results are out, and decide for yourself whether you think they're bargains or dogs.
G4S (ISE: GFS.L) , which dropped a serious clanger by failing to satisfy the requirements of its Olympics security contract, will report interim results on Tuesday.
The Olympics debacle, which led to the armed forces having to step in and cost the company 35 million to 50 million pounds, led to a 17% fall in the share price, with fears arising that confidence in the firm could be damaged enough to adversely affect future contracts.
But since then, the shares have recovered from their 240 pence bottom, bouncing back to 266 pence today. And some of those longer-term fears appear to have been assuaged, as three U.K. police forces have reconfirmed their intentions to contract out back-office services to G4S after reviewing the plans.
And post-Olympics forecasts have not been downgraded as feared, with the latest suggesting earnings of around 22 pence per share with a 9 pence dividend -- that's a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 12 and a dividend yield of 3.4%.
Also on Tuesday, we should have a first-half update from Yule Catto (ISE: YULC.L) , the specialty chemical manufacturer. Its share price has been through the wars a bit, climbing nicely to a high of 256 pence in March before slumping to today's 140 pence.
The problems started in May, when the firm told that first-quarter volumes were behind 2011's, blaming it on "high raw material volatility and a general lack of business confidence". That was followed by a profit warning at the end of June, saying that the weakness had continued into Q2 and downgrading full-year operating profit guidance by 5 million pounds.
But subsequent City forecasts still put the shares on a forward P/E of 6.7, falling to 6 for 2013, and suggest dividend yields of around 3% and 3.2%, respectively. Those aren't massive payouts, but the low valuation might make this a recovery target -- unless, of course, profit warnings really do come in threes.
With insurers staging something of a comeback of late, half-year figures from Admiral Group (ISE: ADM.L) on Thursday should be worthy of note. Admiral shares slumped from a 2011 peak of 17.50 pounds to a year-end low of under 8 pounds, but have since recovered to stand at 11.84 pounds as I write.
But is there any real justification for that erratic path? Well, what I like about Admiral is that it has recorded increased earnings per share every year for the past five years, and has further growth forecast for this year and next.
And the dividend has gone along with that, also being lifted every year, with current forecasts suggesting a 7.4% yield for the year to December, followed by 7.9% next year. That will account for almost all of the firm's earnings, so if there's little profit retained then we might not expect much growth, but a dividend like that alone makes the results well worth inspection.
We have interim figures from Computacenter (ISE: CCC.L) coming our way on Friday, and though the IT services contractor has seen its shares power up from a low of 285 pence in July to today's 379 pence (for a 33% rise), that did come after a slump from March's peak of over 460 pence.
Even after the recent rise, City forecasts still put the shares on a forward P/E of under 10 this year, falling to around 8.5 for 2013, and suggest dividend yields of 4.5% and 5%, respectively. And there's no debt to worry about -- in fact, at the end of the firm's Q1 2012, it had 106 million pounds net cash on its books.
July's pre-close update told us that revenues were up 4% in the first half, with Group Services revenues up 12%, though net cash had dropped to 96.6 million pounds. But we were told that trading has been "in line with our expectations and the outlook for the full year to 31 December", which suggests we can be confident in current forecasts -- and we could be looking at a nice bargain here.
As we're still in the midst of a busy reporting period for the sector, the fifth slot this week goes jointly to two oil and gas companies, both releasing interim results on Thursday.
Hardy Oil & Gas has seen its shares lose around 35% over the past 12 months, though over the past couple of weeks they have come back from a 52-week low of 112 pence to reach 133 pence.
Salamander Energy shares have had a better, albeit bumpy, ride. They're around 10% up on the past 12 months, at 203.5 pence, but the price has been volatile.
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