5 Opportunities For The Week Ahead

Published in Investing on 12 October 2012

What have we got coming our way next week?

We don't have much in the way of full-year results next week, but we do have a handful arriving on Tuesday.

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One of those will be from Smiths News (LSE: NWS), whose shares have had a remarkable ride in recent months, putting on more than 40% since the start of July to reach 131p.

Part of the reason for that was a strong interim update from the newspaper, magazine and book wholesaler in July, in which we were told to expect "underlying profit before tax to be at the top end of market range".

The latest forecasts this month suggest a dividend yield of almost 7% from shares on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of only 7, even after the recent price rise, and so near to results day it seems likely that will be close to reality.

Drink up

Spirit Pub Company (LSE: SPRT) shares have done well since the split from Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB), and at 57p they're around 50% up on their 12-month low. Preliminary results are due Tuesday and, following on from June's third-quarter update, they should be pretty positive.

At the Q3 stage, like-for-like sales were up 3.7%, with food sales up 6.8%, and the company told us it is on track to meet full-year expectations. Those expectations suggest a 10% growth in earnings per share (eps), with a modest 3.4% dividend from shares on a P/E of 10.

The majority of analysts offering tips are suggesting we buy this one, though salt in large pinches is often taken with such pronouncements. It doesn't look the best bargain around based on short-term figures, but if we're at the start of a recovery in discretionary spending, it could be a decent long-term investment.

Mum's the word

We're due a Q2 trading update from Mothercare (LSE: MTC) on Friday, ahead of interim results due on 22 November. The firm has had well-known troubles, and is in the early stages of a planned three-year recovery.

Part of that plan involved poaching Simon Calver from LOVEFiLM to take on the chief executive role, and the focus is on cutting head office costs and paring the company's UK chain of shops down to a profitable core of around 200.

There's a further fall in profits expected for the year to March 2013, but 2014 should start to show an upswing as the cost-cutting programme takes effect. Investors interested in recovery situations should keep their browsers open for this one.

Beat the FTSE

The same day will bring us a second-quarter trading statement from SABMiller (LSE: SAB), which has the enviable record of having beaten the FTSE for 11 straight years and is on track to do so again this year. After that feat, the shares currently stand at 2,672p.

In July, the first quarter was looking good, with organic revenue up 8%. Forecasts for this year and next suggest annual eps growth of 13%, with modest dividends of around 2.5%.

The shares aren't low-valued, on a P/E of nearly 18 for this year and falling to 16 next year. But that's only a little ahead of the long-term FTSE average of around 14, and top-performing companies usually do command higher valuations than average.

Will SABMiller beat the FTSE again this year? I wouldn't bet against it.

A tasty merger

The final one I want to look at today is Britvic (LSE: BVIC), the soft drinks maker that has seen more than its fair share of trauma this year, and which will also give us a trading update on Thursday ahead of full-year results due 28 November.

Back in July, Britvic had to recall two of its products after a flaw was found in the caps of the bottles, and that caused a share price slump of around 30%.

It has recovered since then and is now standing at 358p, but part of that is due to a proposed merger with AG Barr (LSE: BAG), which was announced at the beginning of September.

Further news on both issues will be welcome.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.

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Comments

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lotontech 13 Oct 2012 , 3:46pm

My own "Opportunity for The Week Ahead" could be Lonmin, which I think may well have "bottomed out" after a long decline: http://goo.gl/G8JNE

But don't forget to "Do Your Own Research" before following me into it ;-)

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