Should you buy Tate & Lyle plc, QinetiQ Group plc and Paypoint plc following today’s updates?

Royston Wild considers whether investors should snap up Tate & Lyle plc (LON: TATE), QinetiQ Group plc (LON: QQ) and Paypoint plc (LON: PAY).

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Today I’m looking at three Footsie stocks making headlines on Thursday.

Defence dynamo

Shares in defence giant QinetiQ (LSE: QQ) crept to two-and-half-month peaks this week in the lead-up to Thursday’s full-year results. And investor faith appears to have been rewarded even though the engineer saw revenues slip 1% during the 12 months to March 2016, to £755.7m, while pre-tax profit slumped 14% to £90.2m.

But QinetiQ’s sales outlook appears to be steadily improving, the company enjoying an 8% boost in its order book — to £659.8m — thanks to a £153m, five-year renewal contract with the Ministry of Defence for aircraft engineering support.

Furthermore, QinetiQ advised that 74% of revenues for fiscal 2017 were covered as of the start of April.

With defence budgets back on the mend, the City expects QinetiQ to enjoy an earnings advance of 1% in both 2017 and 2018, resulting in very-decent P/E ratios of 14.9 times and 14.6 times, respectively. And dividend yields of 2.6% for 2017 and 2.9 % for 2018 provide a handy-if-unspectacular sweetener.

Paying off

Payments specialist Paypoint (LSE: PAY) also enjoyed a bump in Thursday business, a 2% advance sending the stock to levels not seen since early January.

Paypoint advised that pre-tax profits careered 84% lower in the year to March 2016, to £8.2m, the business hammered by a £30.8m impairment on its outgoing mobile payments division.

Revenues at Paypoint slipped 3% during the period, to £212.6m, although the company remains bullish over its long-term outlook as it develops its retail services. Indeed, Paypoint saw the number of retail transactions shoot 17.8% higher last year, to 140m.

The number crunchers certainly believe Paypoint is on the way up, and have pencilled-in earnings rises of 20% and 7% for 2017 and 2018. These figures produce excellent P/E ratings of 13.4 times and 12.7 times.

And dividend hunters will no doubt be attracted by huge dividend yields of 5.4% for this year and 5.8% for 2018.

Too sweet

Sugar play Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE) has proved one of the stars of the show on Thursday, the stock gaining 2% and reaching levels not seen since last April in the process.

Tate & Lyle announced that sales edged fractionally higher during the year to March, to £2.36bn, although investors cheered news that adjusted pre-tax profits nudged 5% higher to £193m.

The food play posted a mixed set of sales results. Revenues at its Specialty Food Ingredients arm nudging 4% higher from 2015, to £897m. But Tate & Lyle’s Bulk Ingredients arm continues to struggle, and sales here dipped 1% to £1.46bn.

The City expects restructuring at the sugar giant to keep driving earnings higher, and rises of 7% and 6% are expected in 2017 and 2018, resulting in P/E ratings of 16.6 times and 15.5 times.

However, dividend yields of 4.7% for this year and 4.8% for 2018 help to offset these middling multiples.

Still, I believe Tate & Lyle still has plenty of work ahead of it to turn around its Bulk Ingredients business, while adverse currency movements add a further headache for the business. I reckon the stock’s turnaround story still leaves plenty of questions to be answered.

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 considered so you should consider taking independent financial advice.

Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of PayPoint. 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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