4 FTSE 100 value shares. Should I buy them in March?

These FTSE 100 shares all trade on low earnings multiples. But do the risks of owning make them UK blue-chips that should be avoided?

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These FTSE 100 shares trade on forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios below the index average of 15 times. Should I buy them for my investment portfolio this month?

Tesco

Britain’s biggest retailer has the best online operation of all the country’s established supermarkets. This could deliver strong and sustained profits growth as grocery e-commerce gains momentum.

But I’m not tempted to buy Tesco shares today. Earnings are in severe danger in the short-to-medium term as shoppers cut back on food and other essentials. Ocado’s decision to hit pause on two new fulfilment centres illustrates the growing strain on supermarkets.

Tesco also faces mounting competitive pressures as discounters Aldi and Lidl expand. I won’t buy the business despite its low prospective P/E ratio of 14.3 times.

B&M European Value Retail

I think buying value retailers could be a better idea. This is why B&M is on my FTSE 100 shopping list.

Data from Kantar Worldpanel showed that food price inflation hit record highs of 17.1% during the four weeks to 19 February. High inflation looks set to persist too, as fruit and vegetable supply problems worsen.

In this landscape, B&M — whose like-for-like sales jumped 6.4% at its own-branded stores in the December quarter — can expect to continue snapping up customers.

The business trades on a forward earnings multiple of 12.9 times today. I think it’s a top buy despite the problem of cost inflation.

SSE

UK economic data has been more encouraging of late. Yet the outlook remains highly uncertain as high inflation persists and the Bank of England hikes rates.

For this reason I’ll buy shares in renewable energy provider SSE, if I have cash to spare. Demand for power remains broadly stable at all points of the economic cycle. So profits here should remain robust, regardless of the direction of Britain’s economy.

I’m also attracted to the FTSE 100 business because of its focus on renewable energy. Okay, earnings could suffer when the wind fails to blow. But it could also provide profits with a significant long-term boost as the UK moves towards net zero.

SSE’s share price trades on a forward P/E ratio of 10.1 times today. It also carries a corresponding dividend yield of 5.4%.

NatWest Group

High Street bank NatWest is the cheapest of all the FTSE index shares mentioned here. It trades on a forward P/E ratio of 6.9 times for 2023. It also carries a fatty 6.1% dividend yield.

Encouragingly, the company is investing heavily in digital banking to capitalise on the online revolution. This month it announced plans to buy a majority stake in savings and pensions fintech business Cushon for £144m.

As the world becomes increasingly digitalised this could pay off handsomely. Yet I’m not tempted to buy NatWest shares right now. Near-term profits remain under threat as the UK economy splutters. And rising competition from challenger banks is a massive long-term problem it has to overcome.

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 assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended B&M European Value and Tesco Plc. 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.

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