Shares in healthcare services provider UDG (LSE: UDG) were given a boost today due to the release of an upbeat trading update. UDG stated that its performance in the first three months of the year was well ahead of the comparable period from last year as a result of improving trading in the US and Europe.
In fact, UDG reported increased operating profit across all of its divisions. Its largest unit, Ashfield Commercial & Medical Services, made strong progress in the US and Europe, thereby making up for slightly weaker performance from the UK.
Looking ahead, UDG is forecast to increase its bottom line by 9% in the current year. However, with it trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 24.6, its upbeat growth potential appears to be sufficiently priced-in. This, plus the news of a change in CEO, means that now may not be an opportune moment to buy UDG for the long term, with a doubling in its share price being relatively unlikely.
Also reporting today was Central and Eastern European budget airline Wizz Air (LSE: WIZZ). Its passenger statistics continue to be very positive. It saw an increase in passenger numbers of 21% in January year-on-year, due to a capacity increase of 18.2%, and a load factor rise of 1.9% to 83.5%.
With the company doubling the number of flights from Budapest to Lisbon to four times per week (starting in March) and having announced 11 new routes in January, it’s undergoing a rapid period of growth. This is expected to translate into an earnings growth rate of 29% in the current year and a further 16% next year. This puts the company’s shares on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.8, which indicates that capital gains are very much on offer.
In fact, if Wizz Air can continue to grow at its current pace then its shares could continue to rise at the 54% rate seen in the last year, thereby making a 100% gain achievable over the long run.
Meanwhile, low carbon technology specialist Torotrak (LSE: TRK) has today released a positive update regarding results from its on-engine V-Charge testing programme. They confirmed simulation predictions for fuel consumption and performance. Torotrak said that its V-Charge achieved the target requirements for boost pressure, mass airflow and power consumption, with it recording class-leading time to torque due to it delivering 90% of target torque in under 500ms.
Torotrak will now seek to utilise a turbocharger that will maximise the benefits of V-Charge. And with the company stating that interest in its technology continues to rise, it appears to be moving in the right direction. However, with Torotrak expected to remain lossmaking in the current financial year and next year, it may be a stock to watch rather than buy at the present time.