These three companies have all released updates today, but should Foolish investors buy, sell or just watch them right now?


AA (LSE: AA) has risen by over 5% today after releasing a positive trading statement. It notes that the company is trading in line with expectations and has arrested the decline in personal member numbers in recent months.

In fact, AA recorded growth in membership in the first half, which is reflective of the success of its new strategy where the company has improved brand advertising, added additional benefits to the membership proposition and focused on greater digital engagement with customers.

On the topic of digital applications, AA’s relationship management system is now fully operational and the company continues to build its digital profile. Its roadside assistance app is seeing increased usage, which leads to not only a better customer experience but also greater efficiency for the business.

AA expects Brexit to have a minimal impact on its business and with its shares trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 10.8, it seems to offer good value for money. Furthermore, its earnings are due to rise by 11% next year and this could act as a positive catalyst on its future share price.

Hill & Smith

Infrastructure and galvanizing specialist Hill & Smith (LSE: HILS) has also updated the market today, with its sales rising 6% in H1. With operating margins rising by 170 basis points to 13%, Hill & Smith has recorded a 20% increase in operating profit. And due to 90% of operating profit being derived in the US and UK, where infrastructure investment spending remains relatively high, its medium-term outlook continues to be positive.

Hill & Smith has also announced the £12.5m acquisition of Signature, which specialises in road sign and traffic management systems. This should complement its existing product offering and contribute to positive earnings growth.

On this topic, Hill & Smith is expected to grow its earnings by 18% in the current year, which could act as a positive catalyst on investor sentiment and on its share price. And with it having a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1, its upside potential seems high.


Ceramic tableware and cookware specialist Portmeirion (LSE: PMP) has today released a rather disappointing set of first-half results. Although sales rose by 2% versus the prior year’s period, pre-tax profit fell by 22% during what was a highly challenging six months for the business. It has seen a reduction in demand from some of its Asian markets and while it sees this as a short-term issue, investor sentiment could come under further pressure in the weeks and months ahead.

However, looking ahead to next year, Portmeirion is expected to return to growth. Its bottom line is forecast to rise by 18% and with its shares trading on a PEG ratio of 0.8, it seems to offer excellent upside potential. Furthermore, its completion of the acquisition of Wax Lyrical for £17.5m could positively catalyse its earnings and this makes now a good time to buy Portmeirion for long-term investors.

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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. 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.