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Should you sell Vodafone Group plc, Braemar Shipping Services plc and Elementis plc ahead of the EU referendum?

If the UK votes to leave the EU then a number of companies could see their share prices fall in the short run. That’s because of the uncertainty which such a vote will cause, rather than it leading to certain economic disaster in the long run.

Excellent capital gain prospects

One company which could see its share price fall is Vodafone (LSE: VOD), as the telecoms company is heavily focused on both Europe and the UK. Although Vodafone is financially sound and has a very diverse product offering, its profit outlook could become less certain and a vote to ‘leave’ could cause investor sentiment to wane.

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However, this doesn’t mean that Vodafone is worth selling before the referendum. That’s because the company’s shares appear to have a margin of safety included in their price, which means that their fall in the short run could be somewhat limited.

For example, Vodafone trades on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.6, which given its size, scale and diversity, makes it a ‘buy’ rather than a ‘sell’ for long term investors. Certainly, the short run may be somewhat volatile, but in the long run Vodafone has excellent capital gain prospects.

Geographically well-diversified

Also trading on a relatively appealing valuation is Braemar Shipping Services (LSE: BMS). The company — a leading provider of services to the shipping, marine, energy, offshore and insurance industries — has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 13.9 and this indicates that its shares may not be hit relatively hard by falling prices across the index, should the UK vote to leave the EU.

Furthermore, Braemar has a high yield, which could hold considerable appeal for more defensively-minded investors if the global economic outlook  were to deteriorate following a Brexit vote. In fact, Braemar has a yield of 5.8% at the present time and the fact its covered 1.25 times by profit suggests that it’s relatively affordable and sustainable.

Certainly, a slowdown in global growth would be likely to hurt Braemar’s long term profit forecasts. But with the company being geographically well-diversified and having a relatively wide margin of safety, it does not appear to be a ‘sell’ ahead of tomorrow’s vote.

One to avoid for now

Meanwhile, speciality chemicals company Elementis (LSE: ELM) has fallen by around 8% today after it released a profit warning. Due to challenging market conditions affecting its Chromium division, sales and margins outside of North America in for the year as a whole are expected to be materially lower than last year. As such, the company’s previous earnings guidance is now not set to be met.

This is disappointing news for investors in Elementis and its share price fall means that it has now declined by a third in the last year. This shows that investor sentiment is weak, and with its performance as a company also being very mixed, I think Elementis looks like a stock to avoid at the present time, irrespective of the EU referendum.

While its Speciality Products division remains a high quality business that continues to perform relatively well, the weak performance from Chromium, together with a P/E ratio of around 15, indicates that there are better options available elsewhere.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of Vodafone. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Elementis. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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