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3 More FTSE 100 Shares For The Week Ahead: WPP PLC, Admiral Group plc And Melrose Industries PLC

We’ve already taken a quick look at three FTSE 100 companies bringing us interim results next week, and there are a few more to come — although interim season for companies whose half-years end in June is nearly over. Here are three more expected next week, all on a busy Thursday:

Melrose Industries, Thursday 29 August

Melrose Industries (LSE: MRO) is a company that specialises in buying up under-performing engineering firms, turning them round, and selling them on. And it’s been a good business — although profits are unsurprisingly erratic on a year-by-year timescale, investors have been well rewarded with an eight-bagger from the firm’s 33p low point in 2009 to today’s price of 280p.

There’s a pretty flat year for profits expected this year, with just a 2% rise in earnings per share (EPS) currently being forecast, and we’ll get a half-time look on Thursday with the release of figures for the six months to June 2013. On AGM day in May, Melrose told us that trading so far was in line with expectations, with revenue 1% lower than the previous year but margins higher, and cash flow was strong.

The shares are currently on a P/E of just under 17 based on expectations for the year, which might seem high, but EPS is forecast to pick up next year and there are dividend yields of around 3% expected. And this is during a potential down phase in the cyclical nature of the business.

Admiral, Thursday 29 August

Motor insurer Admiral (LSE: ADM) will also report on its first half next Thursday, with forecasts suggesting a modest couple of years of 5% EPS growth following on from the previous three years of double-digit rises. There’s also one of the biggest dividend yields in the business expected, of 7.3%. About half of that is traditionally declared as a special dividend and is perhaps less reliable than the usual regular payment, but Admiral has paid it every year since flotation in 2004.

The share price hasn’t done much this year, gaining around 8% to reach 1,293p compared to nearer 15% for the FTSE, and it’s been up and down since 2009. The shares are currently on a forward P/E of 13 based on December 2013 forecasts, and that’s on the high side of average for the sector at the moment — though there is that dividend.

Admiral’s first-quarter update in April said “little has changed since the full-year results and our expectations for 2013 remain positive and unchanged“, and the firm also told us that it has seen international growth picking up.

WPP, Thursday 29 August

Our third for Thursday is advertising and media giant WPP (LSE: WPP) (NASDAQ: WPPGY.US), which will be bringing us first-half figures. WPP has put in the best 12-month share price performance of the three, gaining 40% to 1,191p after three years of solid earnings and dividend rises — EPS did fall in 2009, but the firm kept its well-covered dividend stable.

There’s a 5% rise in EPS forecast this year with a dividend yield of about 3% expected, and the shares are on a forward P/E of a bit over 14. So what are the firm’s prospects looking like?

Well, at first-quarter time, WPP reported a 6% rise in revenue to £2.53bn, with Q1 profits and operating margin “above budget and well ahead of last year“. Average net debt was down, and the firm took on around £1bn in net new business in the quarter. It shouldn’t be a bad year.

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