3 FTSE 100 stocks I’ll be watching in March

Paul Summers picks out three FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) stocks he’ll be watching like a hawk next month.

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After a (very) rough start to 2022, investors will no doubt be hoping March will be a little kinder to them. What we do know for sure is that next month brings a flood of updates from companies across the market spectrum. Here are three from the FTSE 100 that I fully intend to check in on. 

ITV

Broadcaster ITV (LSE: ITV) is down to publish final results on 3 March. 

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Unlike other loosely-labelled ‘value’ stocks, shares in the £4bn cap haven’t really benefited from the rotation away from growth plays in recent weeks. That’s despite Covid-19 restrictions coming to an end and the company making lots of positive noises about a recovery in advertising revenue when it last reported to the market in November. Perhaps traders are concerned that viewing figures will drop as people prioritise getting out more in the months ahead.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has shown just how few ‘safe havens’ there are in the stock market. I certainly wouldn’t include ITV in this category given the competition it faces from companies such as Netflix and Amazon. At seven times forecast FY22 earnings, however, I continue to believe that the shares are too lowly rated, especially if dividends are reinstated in the near future. 

The road ahead could still prove bumpy. Even so, I’d be willing to buy at the current level. 

Deliveroo

Also reporting next month is takeaway delivery firm Deliveroo (LSE: ROO). It’s down to release full-year results on 17 March. 

As an investment, I’ll admit to not being the company’s greatest fan. In fact, I stated last December that I’d only consider getting interested in the stock if it fell by another 50%. Since then, it’s tumbled by 45%. 

Now, a lot of this isn’t necessarily down to anything Deliveroo’s done or not done. The aforementioned exodus from highly-valued growth stocks since the beginning of 2022 has been pretty indiscriminate. That said, the company’s lack of profits can’t have helped. With rampant inflation now squeezing discretionary income, I’m wondering if there could be a few nasty surprises to come next month. 

Investors will be looking to see whether the company has managed to hit the 7.5%-7.75% gross profit margin guidance it gave in its last update. If not, I can see the share price being hammered again. Unsurprisingly, I don’t intend to snap up this stock before then.

Ocado

A final FTSE 100 stock I’ll be watching next month is Ocado (LSE: OCDO). An update on Q1 trading is expected on the same day as Deliveroo’s results: 17 March.

As impressive as the company’s automated warehouses are, I’ve long been perplexed by how an unprofitable business like this can occupy a space in the top tier. In fact, recent share price activity suggests more investors are tiring of the company’s ‘jam tomorrow’ strategy. Ocado’s valuation has tumbled 40% in the last year.

Sure, the recent full-year numbers weren’t bad. Revenue for the 12 months to 28 November was 7.2% higher (at £2.5bn) than the previous year. Five high-tech Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs) were also opened over the period. However, the big question now is whether trading has been impacted by galloping prices. If it has, Ocado’s downward trajectory could continue in March. 

I’m not going anywhere near the stock until I get some clarity on this. 

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Paul Summers has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Amazon, Deliveroo Holdings Plc, ITV, and Ocado Group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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.

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