Should you buy Marks and Spencer Group plc, Dixons Carphone plc and Babcock International Group plc following today’s updates?

Royston Wild considers whether investors should pile into FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) giants Marks and Spencer Group plc (LON: MKS), Dixons Carphone plc (LON: DC) and Babcock International Group plc (LON: BAB) following today’s news.

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Today I’m looking at three FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) heavyweights making headlines on Wednesday.

Gadgets great

Shares in Dixons Carphone (LSE: DC) have galloped to their highest in almost four months today following the release of bubbly trading numbers.

The electronics play saw like-for-like sales rev 5% higher during January-April, with Dixons Carphone noting “a very strong performance in our mobile phone business in the UK” in particular.

Dixons Carphone expects pre-tax profits to clock in at the upper range of previous guidance for the 12 months to April 2016, at £445m-£450m. This would represent a 17% improvement on the prior year.

And CEO Seb James calmed fears of cooling consumer spending power by adding that “our view is that people are ready to spend but have — rightly — become more canny, so need to be tempted with great deals and exciting new products.”

The City believes Dixons Carphone has what it takes to keep thriving in this environment, and has pencilled-in earnings rises of 13% and 10% for 2017 and 2018, respectively. I reckon subsequent P/E ratings of 13.7 times and 12.5 times are a steal given the retail giant’s terrific momentum.

Making a fortune

Expectations of strong full-year numbers from engineering play Babcock International (LSE: BAB) have propelled the stock to its highest since late 2015 in recent days. And investor faith has proved to be well-founded.

Babcock saw revenues leap 4% during the year to March 2016, to £4.16bn, a result that propelled pre-tax profit 5% higher to £330.1m.

And outgoing CEO Peter Rogers said that “we expect to make further progress this year and beyond,” comments that come as little surprise given Babcock’s £20bn order book. On top of this, the engineer has 78% of revenues secured for the current period, and 53% for fiscal 2018.

Against this backcloth, the number crunchers expect Babcock to deliver earnings growth of 9% in the present period, resulting in a brilliant P/E rating of 12.2 times. And a multiple of 11.2 times for 2018 — produced by a forecast 10% bottom-line rise — underline the company’s position as a great growth stock at a fantastic price.

Marked down

High street institution Marks and Spencer (LSE: MKS) has proven to be the FTSE 100’s biggest loser on Wednesday after warning of further turbulence created by its Womenswear division.

‘Marks and Sparks’ plans to slash prices and improve the quality and style of its ranges to restart flagging clothing sales. But CEO Steve Rowe warned that “these actions, combined with the difficult trading conditions, will have an adverse effect on profit in the short term.

Although M&S grew revenues by 2.4% during the year to April 2016, to £10.6bn, this couldn’t prevent pre-tax profits from slumping 18.5% to £488.8m.

The retailer’s Food division once again proved to be the company’s only bright spot last year, with 75 new Simply Food store openings “performing ahead of expectations.”

Marks and Spencer clearly has a lot of work in front of it to get its fashion ranges firing again. But I believe the firm’s excellent edible offerings provide reasons to be cheerful, while the brand’s enduring lustre in foreign climes should deliver sound returns once current economic choppiness abates.

And with expected earnings rises of 5% and 7% in 2017 and 2018, respectively, creating P/E ratings of just 12.5 times and 11.6 times, I reckon now is a tempting time for contrarian investors to pile into the retailer.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Royston Wild 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.

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