Are Any of These 5 FTSE 100 Shares a Buy?


LONDON -- I have recently been evaluating the investment cases for a multitude of FTSE 100 companies.

Although Britain's foremost share index has risen 7.6% so far in 2013, I believe many London-listed stocks still have much further to run, while conversely others seem overdue for a correction. So how do the following five stocks weigh up?

Polymetal International
I expect Polymetal International to head higher as gold output across its operations in Russia and Kazakhstan increases. Production leapt almost a third in 2012, to 1.063 million ounces, and the company is on track to churn out 1.2 million ounces this year.

Polymetal is scheduled to ramp up activity at its POX treatment facility to full capacity in coming months, a move which should significantly bolster metal output in the near term.

And production is expected to surge still higher in coming years -- the firm has earmarked $300 million to plough into greenfield developments and exploration work for this year.

Analysts have predicted earnings-per-share growth (EPS) of 57% in 2012, results for which are due on Monday, 8 April. EPS is forecast to advance 45% and 12% in 2013 and 2014 respectively. This rapid earnings growth is expected to drive Polymetal's P/E rating into bargain basement territory -- an anticipated reading of 12.4 for last year is expected to fall to 8.5 this year and 7.6 in 2014.

Gigantic security services operator G4S has extensive operations spanning the globe, and its growing exposure to emerging markets is set to underpin sterling growth in future years.

The company announced in November's interims that organic growth in developing markets rose 9% in the January-September period of last year, and these regions now account for more than a third of group revenues.

G4S is planning to hike this proportion to 50%, and has allocated £200 million per annum from 2013 onwards for M&A activity in order to realize this plan.

City analysts expect last year's difficulties, in particular the London Olympics staffing fiasco, to result in a 1% dip in earnings per share. Results for 2012 are due on Wednesday, March 13. However, growth is expected to bounce back strongly thereafter -- a 12% jump this year is forecast to rise a further 9% in 2014.

I believe that G4S offers excellent value for money, with an anticipated P/E ratio of 11.5 and 10.6 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

I reckon that shares in distribution firm Bunzl are in danger of sliding back heavily after rocketing in recent weeks. Uninspiring earnings growth and a lack of a meaty dividend means the stock looks heavily overvalued at current levels.

Bunzl announced earlier this week that revenues rose 5% last year to £5.36 billion, which pushed pre-tax profit -- at constant exchange rates -- 6% higher to £323.9 million. Although the company is a dependable deliverer of increased earnings, in my opinion current growth rates do not justify recent share prices.

Earnings per share rose 5% last year, and analysts expect this to nudge a mere 4% higher in 2013, accelerating slightly to 7% in 2014. But in my opinion Bunzl is severely overpriced given these modest growth expectations.

In fact, the firm carries a P/E ratio of 16.6 and 15.5 for this year and next, while the price/earnings to growth (PER) value for this period also makes for grim reading -- figures of 4.1 and 2.2 are anticipated in 2013 and 2014 respectively. This is some way off the readout of 1, which as a rule represents decent investor value.

Tullow Oil
I think that investors should plough into Tullow Oil as the company refocuses its attentions back toward oil exploration, a strategy which should underpin strength over the longer term.

Profit projections are patchy -- earnings per share are expected to leap 13% in 2013 before slipping back 3% the following year, according to City brokers. Tullow also comes with a particularly high P/E ratio. Readouts of 23.3 and 24.1 are expected for this year and next.

But I reckon that earnings should surge thereafter as the potential of the firm's world-class assets is realized. Tullow is planning to drill more than 40 high impact wells in lucrative fields covering Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Mozambique, French Guiana, Côte d'Ivoire, and Norway this year.

In particular, Tullow noted this week that testing at its Twiga South site in Kenya revealed a cumulative flow rate of 2,812 barrels of oil per day. The area is believed to contain 10 huge rift basins and drilling work there is set to rocket in 2013.

Energy services and engineering specialist AMEC should continue to provide investors with steady earnings growth, as demand from its clean energy, environment and infrastructure markets remains on an upward path.

Strength in these areas should more than offset weakness in the oil sands and mining sectors. Indeed, AMEC reported a solid order book of £3.6 billion as of the end of 2012, which should uphold the company's solid revenue forecasts.

The City's analysts have penciled in 8% and 11% earnings-per-share growth in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The firm also provides reasonable value for money, with P/E ratios of 11.9 and 10.7 forecast for this year and next.

A juicy dividend seals the investment case, in my opinion. An anticipated payout yield of 3.7% this year is forecast to rise to 4.1% in 2014, and compares with the current FTSE 100 average yield of 3.5%. And the firm's payout is protected by coverage of 2.3 times for both of these years.

Zone in on other sterling stocks
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