Today I am looking at the earnings prospects of three FTSE giants.
A safety superstar
Health and safety specialists Halma (LSE: HLMA) could not avoid the wider malaise whacking stock markets despite releasing a robust trading update in Thursday — the share was recently 3% lower from Wednesday’s close.
Halma advised that full-year adjusted pre-tax profit is on course to match market expectations of between £161.6m and £171.5m. The Amersham-based business noted that “the group continues to benefit from the diversity of its markets and resilient growth drivers,” adding that “order intake has remained ahead of revenue.”
And Halma remains busy on the M&A front, in an attempt to mitigate current troubles in the global economy and keep earnings rising — recent acquisitions include fire suppression specialists Firetrace USA and healthcare facilities play CenTrak.
The City expects Halma to enjoy earnings advances of 8% in the years ending March 2016 and 2017. Although subsequent P/E ratings of 25.2 times and 23.5 times may appear a tad heady, I believe the firm’s expanding presence in defensive sectors justifies a slight premium.
A bargain booze pick
Pub operator Enterprise Inns (LSE: ETI) was able to defy broader risk aversion and punch a 3% rise in Thursday business, following its own positive market update.
Enterprise Inns advised that it had made a “strong” start to the current financial year, with like-for-like revenues from its leased and tenanted divisions rising 1.6% during the 19 weeks to 6 February.
On top of this, Enterprise Inns noted that its expansion strategy continues to progress as planned — the business aims to have 100 managed houses and 300 commercial properties up and running by the end of September.
All is not rosy in the garden, however, and Enterprise Inns still has to battle a number of issues to post strong long-term growth, from the imminent introduction of the National Living Wage to servicing its relatively-high debt levels.
The City expects Enterprise Inns to enjoy a marginal earnings advance in the period to September 2016, although this results in a mega-cheap P/E rating of 5.6 times. So while earnings are not expected to explode in the near future, the pub giant could be considered a canny long-term purchase for value hunters.
Insurer heading higher
Insurance leviathan Aviva (LSE: AV) has seen its share price fall off a cliff since the start of February, and a further 3% decline in Thursday’s session has brought losses to 16% in the month to date alone. Still, I believe this represents a fresh buying opportunity for savvy bargain hunters.
Of course investors should be wary of the impact of economic cooling on near-term revenues, but I reckon Aviva’s broad geographical presence should still deliver solid long-term returns — indeed, new business values across its life insurance arm surged 25% between July and October, to £823m.
This represented the eleventh successive quarter of growth, proving that Aviva has its finger on the pulse when it comes to meeting its customer’s needs. And stock selectors should also be encouraged as the firm’s Aviva Investors turnaround strategy steps up the pace, not to mention the firm’s rolling drive to bolster its digital operations.
Aviva is expected to punch an 11% earnings advance in 2016, resulting in a dirt-cheap P/E ratio of just 10.1 times. I reckon this is a steal given the insurer’s terrific long-term profits outlook.
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Royston Wild 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.