While the FTSE 100 has been steady overall since the EU referendum, and despite an immediate drop has bounced back pretty much unchanged to 6,696 points, many of its constituents have been in turmoil. Should we buy the shares that are on the rise?
Oil still a bargain
Oil giant BP (LSE: BP) has seen its shares gain 17% since 23 June, to 452p, and they’re up 47% since their 2016 low point on 11 February. Part of the reason has been the recovering price of oil, of course, although Brent Crude has dipped back to $47 per barrel from over $50. But the latest spike is a direct result of the post-Brexit ‘flight to safety’, so are BP shares still worth buying at their higher valuation?
The long-term value of BP is entirely independent of whether the UK is a member of the EU or not, and so hasn’t really changed between 23 June and today. And I reckon the strong buy case for BP is unchanged by the recent price rise. Fundamentals don’t mean much this year, but forecasts for 2017 value BP shares at 15 times predicted earnings. Those forecasts have been strengthening over the past three months, with a pretty strong buy consensus on the shares now.
But the killer reason to buy, for me, is those tasty dividends that should yield over 6%. BP has repeatedly said it doesn’t want to cut its dividend, and with oil price prospects looking good over the next 18 months, I’d say it’s looking increasingly safe.
The mining sector is the other obvious one that’s utterly indifferent to local politics of places like Europe, and it has also benefited from the rush to invest cash anywhere that doesn’t look risky. Shares in Glencore (LSE: GLEN) have gained 21% since the day of the vote, to 185p, and are up 161% since their lowest this year on 20 January.
It’s not all Brexit, as Glencore was already making firm progress in its recovery plan, disposing of assets to get its massive debt pile down to manageable levels. And with the outlook for worldwide demand and the price of commodities brightening, Glencore’s long-term future is looking safe.
The P/E multiple on Glencore shares is still a bit daunting, mind, at 47 based on this year’s expectations and dropping only as far as 33 on 2017 forecasts — and that’s without any meaningful dividends. A P/E to earnings growth ratio (PEG) of 0.7 based on 2017’s forecast 46% rise in EPS looks attractive, but that could well be a post-recovery one-off. A solid company, but I think I’d wait a while.
A bank, really?
Banking has been hard hit, with Lloyds Banking Group down 22% since the referendum and Barclays down 20%. But Asia-focused banks like Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) have bucked that trend — its shares are up 4% since 23 June and 55% since 11 February.
With its top-level management team shaken up and serious steps being taken to turn its fortunes around, Standard Chartered could be an attractive long-term bet. While forecast pre-tax profits will still be well below those from recent years, after we’ve seen a decline from £6.85bn in 2012 to a £1.5bn loss last year, the £1.2bn profit pencilled-in for 2017 would drop the P/E down to under 16.
Whether the potentially lower risk makes Standard Chartered a better buy now than Lloyds or Barclays on forward P/E values of 8, that’s for you to decide.