Both of these FTSE 100 shares seem to offer exceptional all-round value right now.
They both trade on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio below the index average of around 12 times. What’s more, each carries a corresponding dividend yield above the 3.8% average for Footsie shares.
So which would be the better buy for my UK shares portfolio right now?
The prospect of soaring oil prices might make Shell (LSE:SHEL) look like an attractive buy today. The World Bank has in recent days predicted that crude values could soar above $150 per barrel (to $157) if the Israel-Hamas conflict turns into a regional battle.
Production curbs by OPEC+ countries, allied with a steady drain on US stockpiles, are already threatening to propel oil prices above current levels around $90 per barrel. However, I’m not prepared to buy oil major Shell given ongoing uncertainties over long-term fossil fuel demand.
The company sources the lion’s share of its profits from its traditional upstream and downstream activities. This creates a clear danger to investors as the fight against climate change accelerates.
In fact, in the second quarter, less than 5% of Shell’s earnings came from its Renewables and Energy Solutions unit. This division incorporates its operations in green and alternative fuels (like wind, solar and hydrogen).
Worryingly, Shell is moving away from clean energy too, even as demand for oil and gas is tipped to soon peak. It has reneged on a pledge to cut annual crude production through to 2030. And last week, the oilie announced the axing of 200 jobs as it scales back its hydrogen strategy.
Today, Shell shares trade on a P/E ratio of 7.8 times for 2023. They sport a 4.2% dividend yield as well, but even at current prices, I’m not tempted to invest.
Advertising giant WPP (LSE:WPP) is under much more pressure right now as companies trim spending. This is perhaps no surprise as marketing expenditure often falls sharply during economic downturns.
In fact, last week, the FTSE company slashed its full-year sales targets due to weakness in China and the technology sector. Following a weak third quarter, the agency now expects like-for-like sales to rise between 0.5% and 1% in 2023. That’s down from a previous range of 1.5-3%.
Yet I’d be far happier to buy WPP shares right now. This is because I’m confident its focus on digital advertising will create significant long-term profits opportunities and drive its share price from current levels.
Digital is the largest and fastest-growing area of the media landscape. And as social media and connected TV advertising has grown in scale, the market has become more complex, driving companies’ reliance on agencies like this.
This is likely to continue, and WPP’s growing global footprint puts it in great shape to exploit this opportunity. I think the company — which trades on a P/E ratio of 7.3 times for 2023 and carries a large 5.7% dividend yield — is a top bargain stock at current prices.