Shares in Imperial Brands (LSE: IMB) are one of the few gainers on a falling market today after the company released an upbeat trading update. Formerly known as Imperial Tobacco, the company reported in-line results for the first quarter of the year and stated that it’s on track to meet full-year expectations.

Tobacco net revenue increased by 16.6% versus the first quarter of the previous year, with Imperial’s US business performing well and to plan. Its growth brands delivered a volume increase of 7.3%, with market share up by 100 basis points. And with £55m of cost savings confirmed for the current financial year, Imperial’s financial outlook appears to be very bright.

In addition, Imperial has confirmed that dividend growth of at least 10% will be recorded this year and that its cash conversion will be over 90%. This should help to grow its dividend further over the medium term and while volumes have been affected by challenges in Iraq and Syria, the company seems to be in very good shape to provide a reliable income stream for its investors over the long term.

With its shares trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 15.1, now seems to be an opportune moment to buy a slice of Imperial Brands.

Sweet choice?

Also reporting today was Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE). Its shares are down by 6% despite it announcing that it’s performing in line with market expectations. Furthermore, it stated that its long-term outlook is bright even though short-term pressures remain in some of its divisions.

For example, Tate & Lyle expects its speciality food ingredients division to operate in a market that grows at mid-single-digits, with its key aim being to grow modestly ahead of the market and deliver margin expansion. Meanwhile, in the company’s bulk ingredients division it continues to target stable earnings, with further weakness and volatility expected in its commodities division.

With Tate & Lyle forecast to increase its earnings by 7% in the next financial year and currently yielding 5.2%, it appears to be a sound long-term buy. While its share price may be volatile in the short run, its long-term prospects remain encouraging.

Brazil 2016, no gold for Santander

Meanwhile, Santander’s (LSE: BNC) recent update showed that the bank continues to experience challenging trading conditions, particularly in its key Brazilian market. This is having an adverse impact on its financial performance, with guidance for the medium term having being reduced by the market in recent months. This has contributed to a fall in Santander’s share price of 41% during the last year.

However, with the bank’s bottom line due to rise by 5% in 2016 and its shares trading on a P/E ratio of just 6.5, it continues to offer a compelling value story. Although the bank’s near-term prospects may be rather uncertain due to the weakness in Brazil as well as fears surrounding the global economy, for investors who are able to live with a high degree of volatility, Santander could prove to be an excellent long-term buy.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of Tate & Lyle and Imperial Brands. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.