I think these 3 cheap FTSE 250 stocks could start climbing in April

If 2024 is the year the FTSE 250 storms ahead, can these three stocks lead the way? There’s news from all of them coming our way soon.

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I’m seeing signs that the FTSE 250 might be set for a new growth spell, ahead of the FTSE 100. And there are also some updates coming our way from stocks I like the look of.

Defence

While an improving outlook for defence stocks has helped send Rolls-Royce Holdings into orbit, QinetiQ (LSE: QQ.) is up just 12% in the past 12 months.

A price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 15 might not look screaming cheap. But it could drop to 12 by 2026 if earnings grow as predicted.

A 2.1% forward dividend yield also seems mediocre, but that could reach 2.5% in the same time. And we’re looking at very strong cover by earnings of around three times.

I think the main risk is that we might have a few short years of boosted business. But once the West’s armouries are full, a few dry years might follow.

But I’m definitely considering it. There’s a Q4 trading update due on 16 April, ahead of FY results on 23 May.

Retail

We should have a full-year trading update from Currys (LSE: CURY) on 5 May. But I’m including it here as February’s buyout bid should keep it in investors’ minds in April.

The electronics retailer saw its shares leap in response to the bid. And when it didn’t pan out, the price only fell back part of the way.

A bid means at least someone thinks the stock is cheap enough to try to get hold of it all.

And I think the Currys share price is too low too. Forecasts show a profit in 2024, followed by a 70% earnings rise by 2026. The City also sees the dividend coming back, and reaching 3.3% in that time.

There’s talk of a possible bidding war now, with China’s JD.com in the running. I wouldn’t buy on such hopes, but I might buy on Currys’ trading outlook.

The stock could fall back if no more bids show up, and could even resume its long-term fall. But it might boost the long-term attraction.

Bricks

What better way to profit from a property market recovery than the humble brick? I’m talking of brick maker Ibstock (LSE: IBST), with a Q1 update due on 25 April.

The share price has picked up a bit in the past six months, but it’s still well down over five years.

The firm saw profits fall in 2023, which is no surprise. And it sees further pressure in 2024. But year-end net debt of £101m looks fine to me.

And CEO Joe Hudson expects Ibstock to get back to growth in the medium term.

My main fear is that a forward P/E of 29 might be a bit too high, and it only drops to 16 on 2025 forecasts.

A forecast dividend yield of 4% by 2025 might not be enough to justify that valuation, even if it’s well covered by earnings.

But if we’re in for a new decade of growth once interest rates come down, I think this could be a buy candidate for long-term 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 assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Alan Oscroft has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Ibstock Plc, QinetiQ Group Plc, and Rolls-Royce 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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