Earlier today, I looked at three companies from the FTSE 100 that are involved in the flood of results expected in March. I’m now turning my attention to three growth stocks from the FTSE 250.
Recently demoted from the FTSE 100, cybersecurity specialist Darktrace (LSE: DARK) is first on my list of second-tier stocks to watch next month. It releases interim numbers on 3 March.
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The former market darling has now given up most of the gains it made since becoming a listed company. That’s a quite shocking reversal considering just how important cybersecurity already is and the potential growth that lies ahead. Darktrace’s undoubtedly impressive self-learning AI can be applied to multiple industries too.
Then again, I do understand why sentiment has changed. As good as Darktrace’s tech appears to be, there can be no doubt that it’s operating in a highly competitive space. Brokers also remain concerned by the company’s low level of R&D spending.
Unfortunately, the valuation of almost 11 times sales still looks rich to me as well. In fact, I wonder if the stock will fall further in March if traders continue to shun unprofitable growth stocks in favour of more traditional value plays.
I still can’t bring myself to get involved just yet.
Shares in Greggs have tumbled almost 25% in 2022 so far. Is the actual business 25% less valuable though? As a holder, I won’t be surprising anyone when I say that I don’t think it is. Yes, the departure of long-standing CEO Roger Whiteside isn’t ideal. And, no, the spread of the Omicron variant late last year can’t have helped trading.
But these are temporary setbacks. Helped by its strong brand and marketing savvy, I have no doubt Greggs can deal with pretty much anything that comes its way. I also doubt its loyal fanbase will resent a 5p price hike for long.
At less than 21 times forecast earnings, Greggs still isn’t cheap as chips to acquire. However, the price is far more palatable than it once was. Since I plan to keep the stock in my portfolio for years rather than weeks, I’d have no issue increasing my holding next month.
A final FTSE 250 member I’ll be watching is IT solutions provider Computacenter (LSE: CCC). While a 7% drop in the share price year-to-date is unfortunate, investors here have fared a lot better than other UK growth shares.
I can’t see full-year results on 16 March being anything less than solid. Back in January, Computacenter reported that recent trading had been ahead of expectations despite supply chain headwinds.
The question I’m asking now, however, is how much of this is already factored into the valuation. The fact that Computacenter’s share price didn’t move higher after its last update suggests quite a bit. Perhaps investors are getting concerned about just how thin margins are at the Hatfield-based business?
On the flip side, its shares currently change hands for 17 times earnings. That’s cheap compared to peers in the industry. There’s also a 2.2% dividend yield, easily covered by forecast profits.
For now, the company stays on my watchlist.