The Motley Fool

Are JD Sports Fashion plc, John Wood Group plc and UBM plc ‘screaming buys’ after today’s updates?

Today’s AGM update from high street retailer JD Sports (LSE: JD) shows that the company is making encouraging progress. It’s on track to meet its expectations for the full year and has received a boost from the European Championships, which have caused consumers to spend more on sports clothing and equipment.

Clearly, the outlook for the wider retail sector is relatively uncertain at the present time and investors are rather nervous regarding the prospects for the UK economy. Therefore, shares in JD are up by less than 1%. That’s despite a rising wider market and its upbeat trading statement with JD being on track to record a rise in its bottom line of 14% in the current financial year, followed by further growth of 12% in the next financial year.

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These rates are around twice those of the wider market and yet JD has a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.3. This indicates that its shares offer good value for money and are worth buying for the long term.

Acquisition trail

Also releasing news today was Wood Group (LSE: WG), with the oil and gas engineering specialist announcing the acquisition of the trade and assets of Enterprise Engineering Service Limited’s (EESL) Aberdeen based fabrication and manufacturing business. The deal enhances Wood Group’s asset integrity management capabilities and adds fabrication to its services. The outcome for customers is potentially greater efficiencies and an extension of the lives of upstream and midstream assets in the oil and gas sector.

While the wider oil and gas sector has endured a challenging time in recent years due to the falling price of oil, Wood Group has performed much better than a number of its peers. However, in the current year its earnings are due to fall by 29%, which could hurt investor sentiment in the stock. But with growth of 4% pencilled-in for next year and Wood Group having a sound strategy of investing during a downturn, it could prove to be a strong long-term buy.

Special dividend

Meanwhile, UBM (LSE: UBM) has also been in the news today after it announced the disposal of its PR Newswire business to Cision. The total net cash proceeds of the transaction are £490m and UBM will return £245m of the proceeds to shareholders by means of a special dividend, with an associated 8 for 9 consolidation of UBM’s shares being conducted.

The special dividend works out as 55.3p per share and will be paid on 8 July to shareholders on the register on 24 June. The disposal of PR Newswire is a key step in UBM’s Events First strategy, with the company now being focused on the high-margin and high-growth events sector. As such, it seems to be a sound move for the long term outlook of the business.

With UBM trading on a PEG ratio of only 0.9, it seems to offer excellent value for money. And with it yielding 3.9% and forecast to raise dividends by 2.3% next year, it appears to be a top-notch income play, too.

A better buy?

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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended UBM. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.