Shares in UK Mail (LSE: UKM) have soared by over 10% today after the company released an upbeat trading update. Trading in the key third quarter of the year met expectations, which is a relief for the company’s investors after it issued a profit warning earlier in the year. That was at least partly caused by challenges with the company’s automated hub, which held up well during the busy festive season.
In fact, UK Mail recorded parcel volume growth of 8% in the quarter, while its mail business saw a rise in sales of 2% in the same period. Looking ahead, UK Mail expects to meet expectations for the current year and has maintained guidance for next year, which indicates that today’s share price gains are a relief rally.
With UK Mail forecast to grow its bottom line by 47% in the next financial year, its price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 0.3 indicates that further gains are on the cards. And with a yield of 6.5%, it continues to be a highly enticing income play, too.
Also soaring today is financial services company Tungsten (LSE: TUNG). Its shares are up by over 18% despite there being no significant news flow having been released by the company.
Of course, its shares have been volatile in recent weeks after it posted a disappointing set of results and also announced the planned sale of its banking division. Clearly, with losses widening in the first half of the current year and additional losses forecast for the second half of the year as well as for next year, Tungsten is experiencing a challenging period at the present time.
While this could be viewed by some investors as a good time to buy, since it is prior to a potential turnaround, there are a number of other stocks which offer good value for money and yet are highly profitable at the present time. Certainly, Tungsten will have a generous cash pile from the sale of its banking division, but until profitability is achieved or at least is on the near-term horizon, it may be prudent to watch, rather than buy, the company.
Meanwhile, KBC Advanced Technologies (LSE: KBC) has risen by more than Tungsten and UK Mail combined today, with its shares up by almost 50%. That’s because it has agreed a deal to be acquired for around £158m in cash by US software peer Aspen Technology, which works out as 185p per share or a premium of 49% to KBC’s closing price from yesterday.
The deal appears to be a good one for KBC’s investors, with it putting the oil and gas industry software provider on a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of 19.2. And with the outlook for the industry being rather uncertain, being part of a larger group could provide more stable financial prospects for the combined entity over the medium to long term.
However, with only 0.5% upside from the current share price to the offer price, buying KBC now has little potential reward.
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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.