Residential rentals giant Grainger (LSE: GRI) provided a reassuring trading update on Thursday, keeping the stock locked around recent six-week peaks at 220p per share.
Grainger advised that operational activity “has been in line with management expectations” in the fiscal year to date, the company adding that “we have not seen any material impact on our business following the EU Referendum.”
Rather, Grainger said it’s enjoying good rental growth and solid demand. Indeed, rents have risen 4.9% on new lets and 2.8% on renewals in the period, the landlord advised. On top of this, Grainger created revenues of £91m from the sale of vacant properties, up from £81m in the corresponding period last year.
Grainger may be an expensive pick at face value, the business dealing on a P/E rating of 27.7 times for the year to September 2016. Still, I believe the robustness of Britain’s rental market makes Grainger a top-tier defensive pick, and therefore an attractive selection for cautious investors, even at current prices.
I’m not so bullish on the earnings outlook over at DFS Furniture (LSE: DFS) following Britain’s decision to exit the EU. My view is hugely at odds with that of the broader market on Thursday, however, the stock last 14% higher following the firm’s trading update.
The sofa seller advised that revenues advanced 7% in the 12 months to July 2016, with trading remaining robust during the second half. As such, DFS expects to punch a record performance for the last fiscal year.
Still, DFS advised that “following the EU Referendum, retailing of furniture in the UK faces an increased risk of a market slowdown with additional cost pressures from foreign exchange movements, whilst it is likely that the retail environment will remain intensely competitive.”
A number of consumer spending gauges following June’s vote have pointed to increasingly-fragile shopper sentiment. And this should continue in the months ahead — particularly for big-ticket items like furniture — as economic conditions likely deteriorate.
I therefore reckon investors should give DFS short shrift, despite a conventionally-reasonable forward P/E rating of 10.7 times.
Watch this space
I believe that movie-and-popcorn chain Cineworld (LSE: CINE) stands on much safer ground.
People love catching the latest blockbuster flick regardless of the wider economic climate — indeed, the popularity of membership schemes like Cineworld’s own Unlimited programme makes a trip to the cinema cheaper than many other activities.
These defensive qualities helped propel the chain’s stock price to fresh record peaks above 600p. And while shares may be fractionally lower on Thursday, I view this as nothing more than profit-booking as Cineworld released latest financials today.
Total revenues leapt 8.4% during January-June, to £356.7m, with admissions edging 2.7% higher to 46.1m. And I believe Cineworld’s ongoing expansion drive should keep driving the top line chugging higher — the firm opened four more sites in the period.
I reckon Cineworld is a solid, long-term pick for growth investors, and fully merits a slightly-elevated forward P/E rating of 18.1 times.
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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.