LONDON -- News is getting a bit thin next week, but there are a few things expected that are well worth keeping an eye open for -- some possible opportunities that you might want to subject to a bit of prior scrutiny...
Earnings growth of around 13% is expected for the year, but much of the recovery looks to be already in the price, with a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 16 looking a bit toppy. And the expected dividend yield of 2% is nothing to retire on. But being so international -- only about a fifth of Wolseley's business is in the U.K. -- it could provide a good barometer of the West's economic situation.
Print and publishing services firm St. Ives
Net debt at the interim stage was only £9.6 million, which isn't much for a £94 million company, so I'll be paying close attention to those results when we see them -- according to last month's trading statement, they should be in line with expectations.
Love it or hate it, Tesco
Warren Buffett has a big investment in Tesco, but since its poor Christmas trading last year a lot of people think the wheels might have come off the company's previously inexorable growth. But I think the doomsayers are seeing things too narrowly, and one promotional season gone wrong is not the end of it all. And the big thing many people miss is that Tesco is increasingly an international operator, with a third of its business already outside the U.K.
I think Tesco is cheap, but then I would as I have it in the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio -- bought for 305 pence, it's now up 11.5%.
We should have a pre-close announcement from Halfords
Is it still a good company, fundamentally? I think it is, though there is an earnings fall of more than 25% forecast for the full year to March 2013. The current dividend forecast suggests a yield of over 7%, but that will only be barely covered by earnings -- so either earnings need to substantially recover, or the dividend will surely face a cut (and there isn't any net cash on the books to really justify maintaining a high payout if it can't be covered).
The interim figures themselves are due in November 8.
Another company that I've been following for quite some time is KCOM
KCOM, which provides a range of telecommunications services to business and domestic customers, is one of those companies that just keeps on growing its earnings at a steady pace, doesn't take on much debt, and pays a good dividend. With the shares on 84 pence, the forecast full-year yield is over 5% -- and that's after the share price has gained 30% since mid-May.
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