Today I am taking a look at three of Tuesday’s major headline makers.
Insurance giant SAGA (LSE: SAGA) continued its recent upsurge in Tuesday trade, the release of bubbly full-year results propelling the stock to fresh three-month peaks.
SAGA saw pre-tax profit leap 55% higher in the year to January 2016, to £176.2m, the business enjoying sales growth of 11% and 4.1% for its travel and insurance products respectively. SAGA put this robust performance down to “new and improving products, new routes to market and the ability to target a broader range of customers.”
The City has certainly bought into SAGA’s growth story, and expects earnings to rise 5% and 15% in fiscal 2017 and 2018, resulting in decent P/E ratings of 14.3 times and 12.6 times. Like the number crunchers, I believe SAGA could prove a very lucrative investment.
Fund manager flips higher
Emerging market play Ashmore Group (LSE: SGM) gave its troubled shareholders a much needed boost in Tuesday trade after a string of disappointing recent updates.
The fund manager announced that assets under management edged 4% higher between January and March, to $49.4bn. The company noted that “the quarter saw strong returns from emerging markets assets as value was recognised and prices recovered from over-sold levels earlier in the period.”
Ashmore isn’t quite out of the woods, however, as fears over developing markets — allied with the fragility of commodity prices and subsequently many emerging region currencies — still remain large in many investors’ minds.
And with predicted earnings dips of 28% and 2% in 2016 and 2017 respectively resulting in high P/E ratings of 21.2 times and 21.3 times, I believe there is plenty of room for Ashmore’s share price to stage another shocking reversal.
Driller in dire straits
The volatility washing over Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LSE: GKP) in recent sessions shows no signs of abating. The business was recently dealing 17% higher from Monday’s close, moving away from fresh troughs below 4p per share struck last week.
The cash-starved company cheered the market last Tuesday with news of $15m payment from the Kurdistan Regional Government for March. But the euphoria was washed away later in the week as Gulf Keystone announced plans to start discussions over its battered balance sheet.
Alarmingly Gulf Keystone advised that its Shaikan wells “may begin to exhibit natural declines later in 2016” without further capital expenditure. The firm says that it needs around $71m to maintain output at around 40,000 barrels per day, a colossal amount given that Gulf Keystone only has $69.5m in its bank account.
And the driller has a series of interest payments in the months ahead, too, leaving the company on perilous ground as it scrambles to execute near-term fundraising and balance sheet restructuring.
Things are clearly in danger of getting a lot more turbulent at Gulf Keystone in the weeks and months to come, even discounting the strong possibility of another sharp oil price correction. I believe the Middle Eastern producer is a risk too far for savvy investors.