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Should you buy Interserve plc, Smurfit Kappa Group plc Ord Eur0.001 and InterContinental Hotels Group plc following today’s updates?

Today I’m considering the investment case for three Friday newsmakers.

Package up a fortune

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa (LSE: SKG) cheered the market with bubbly Q1 numbers in Friday business, advising that pre-tax profit exploded 31% during the period to €128m.

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The Dublin firm saw revenues edge 2% higher during January-March, to €2bn, and encouragingly advised that “we continue to see good levels of demand for packaging across almost all of the markets in which we operate.”

On top of this, CEO Tony Smurfit advised that it has the capacity to add to the €380m-worth of acquisitions made last year, adding a further boost to the firm’s revenues outlook.

Smurfit Kappa has a long, distinguished record of generating robust earnings growth year after year, and the City expects this trend to continue with advances of 10% in 2016 and 6% in 2017. These numbers leave Smurfit Kappa dealing on very attractive P/E ratios of 13.9 times and 13.1 times.

Rest easy

Accommodation provider InterContinental Hotels Group (LSE: IHG) also cheered the market with a bubbly update in end-of-week trading.

The Denham firm saw revenues per available room edge 1.5% higher at constant currencies during January-March, a result printed “against the background of weak oil markets and the earlier timing of Easter, which affected several of [its] markets.”

And promisingly CEO Richard Solomons advised that “current trading trends and the momentum behind our brands give us confidence for the rest of the year” despite political and economic problems in some territories.

And with InterContinental Hotels still building its global base — the signing of 15,000 new rooms during the quarter represented the highest figure since early 2008 — the City expects the bottom line to keep taking off.

Indeed, earnings advances of 10% and 16% are chalked-in for 2016 and 2017, respectively. And while these numbers result in conventionally-elevated P/E ratings of 20.2 times for this year and 17.4 times for next year, I reckon InterContinental Hotels’ expansion drive in hot growth regions should cause the earnings multiple to keep toppling.

Garbage groans

Shares in Interserve (LSE: IRV) dived by more than a quarter during end-of-week trading after the firm issued a troublesome trading update.

Interserve has been forced to swallow a £70m exceptional contract provision for the first half due to further problems in its Glasgow energy-from-waste contract. The construction issues also mean that net debt is expected to be £35m higher than previously expected at both the half-year and at the close of 2016.

 Although of course disappointing, Interserve’s latest release was not all bad — the business advised that trading at its Support Services arm remains “robust,” while Equipment Servicescontinues to have good momentum across its international markets.”

Indeed, I reckon it could be argued this latest share price dip represents a brilliant opportunity for bargain hunters to leap in.

Although a 6% earnings decline is anticipated by City brokers for 2016, this results in a mega-low P/E rating of 6.6 times. And a predicted 11% rebound next year pushes the multiple to a mere 6 times.

Meanwhile, dividend yields of 5.9% and 6.2% for 2016 and 2017 respectively merit serious attention, in my opinion.

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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.