The recent bear market is fast becoming yesterday’s news. And cheap shares are getting harder to find on the London stock market.
However, there are still some tempting opportunities out there. And I’d been keen to grab some of them because my belief is this bull run we’re now in has legs.
One thing that recent difficult economic and geopolitical times have proved is the resilience and adaptability of many businesses. And I’d be keen to put my money into choice UK shares now to hold for the long term.
Technology for gaming
For example, I like the look of Playtech (LSE: PTEC). The company provides technology to the online gaming software industry.
In September with the half-year report, the business delivered a performance ahead of the directors’ expectations. And momentum continued into the second half.
Chief executive Mor Weizer said Playtech is “well placed to capitalise on the exciting market opportunities ahead.” And part of the strategy involves simplifying the business to focus efforts on the “high-growth” business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) gambling markets. Last year’s disposal of the company’s Finalto business was a “significant step” towards that goal.
Meanwhile, City analysts expect earnings to grow by about 9% this year. And with the share price near 542p, the forward-looking earnings multiple is just over 10.
To me, the valuation looks attractive. And I’m considering the stock as a long-term hold to see if the company can build growth as it embarks on a new strategic direction. However, there’s a fair chunk of debt on the balance sheet to keep an eye on. And the shareholder dividend yield is paltry.
It’s also worth me bearing in mind that the company’s financial history is patchy. So I’d be looking for new growth to emerge and improve the figures going forward. However, positive outcomes are not certain.
Parts for trucks
Another I’m looking at is Castings (LSE: CGS), the iron casting and machining company that makes a lot of stuff for heavy truck manufacturers.
November’s half-year report delivered some impressive year-on-year figures. And the company said underlying demand for heavy trucks had been strong. Indeed, there was an improvement in “the conversion of forward schedules to actual sales” compared to the prior year.
Looking ahead, the outlook statement was bullish. And City analysts expect earnings in the current trading year to March 2023 to rise by around 45%. However, the forecast for the following year is for an increase of just 4%, or so.
But I reckon the valuation looks modest. With the share price near 355p, the forward-looking price-to-earnings ratio is about 12. And the anticipated dividend yield is running near 4.8%. But on top of that, the business has a multi-year record of running a net cash position on its strong-looking balance sheet.
However, this is a highly cyclical business. So a long-term investment in the shares now requires me to back my bullish view about the general economy. And that situation carries its own risks.
Nevertheless, I’m interested in both these stocks and would be inclined to invest if I had some spare cash.