Company results for 2016 are starting to flood in, and that makes it a great time to review those shares we might otherwise have overlooked. Here are three from the FTSE 350 that have caught my eye today.
In a previous life working in orthopaedic software, I got to know Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN), a company that manufactures replacement joints. Its products are highly regarded and are sold worldwide.
The share price took a slight knock today, down 2.4% to 1,172p, after full-year results were posted. Reported revenue in the fourth quarter was down 3%, though it saw an underlying drop of 1%, with underlying revenue for the whole year up 2%. Chief executive Olivier Bohuon said: “While we still delivered growth in 2016 it was not at the level we had wanted,” so the reasons for the unexcited response seem clear enough.
But the dividend was maintained at 30.8 cents per share, which equates to a rise of around 20% in sterling terms after the collapse of the pound. Yields are only around a modest 2%, but I see Smith & Nephew as a safe long-term investment, with reasonable barriers to entry and surely an increasing demand in the coming decades for its products.
Also reporting today is a company I’ve had my eye on for a while, investment manager Ashmore Group (LSE: ASHM). For the six months to December, assets under management reached $52.2bn, up 5% over the same time a year previously, as the firm told us that “investor sentiment towards emerging markets continues to improve.“
An impressive 91% of Ashmore’s managed assets have, apparently, outperformed benchmarks over the past year, with 81% beating targets over three years and 86% over five years — and that’s a significant improvement since June 2016.
Some were getting a bit twitchy over Ashmore’s forecast 5.4% dividend yield, but the reversal of the earlier fall in asset values will surely improve confidence there, and the interim dividend was maintained at 4.55p per share.
The shares perked up 5.7% to 337p, giving us a P/E of around 18, which I think is good value for what is looking like a reliable cash cow.
My third pick is another investment firm, Henderson Group (LSE: HGG), which revealed its full-year 2016 results. We again saw a rise in the value of assets under management, this time a 10% boost to £101bn. But against that, the company reported a net outflow of £4bn for the year, with underlying pre-tax profit down 3.3% to £212.7m and underlying EPS down 11.6%.
Looking to the longer term, 77% of funds were reported to have beaten their relevant metrics over three years. Chief executive Andrew Formica described the firm’s performance as resilient, while speaking of “a year of extraordinary turbulence in politics and financial markets.“
In an encouraging sign, we have full-year dividend of 10.5p per share, covered around 1.5 times by earnings — the share price is down 2.5% to 211.5p as I write, so that represents a yield of 5%, and that’s not a bad return at all.
The shares are on a P/E now of around 14, and again I see that as good value, especially with those above-average dividends.
And I do think we could be looking at a good time to buy into investment managers right now.