This morning’s rash of trading updates brought good news for shareholders of Bovis Homes Group (LSE: BVS). But shares in Portmeirion Group (LSE: PMP) sank after a surprise profit warning, while Kurdistan oiler Genel Energy (LSE: GENL) cut production guidance again.
Is this a short-term blip?
Homeware firm Portmeirion Group warned investors this morning that pre-tax profits are likely to be “materially below” last year’s level of £8.6m. The shares are down by 22% as I write, at just 852p.
Portmeirion says an unexpected downturn in demand from Asian markets is to blame. The company says UK demand has also softened and that the falling pound hasn’t yet triggered an increase in overseas orders. Luckily the US market — the firm’s largest — is still performing well.
Management believes that the problems in Asia represent a short-term issue and that sales should rebound. To demonstrate its confidence, the company plans to increase the interim dividend by 14% this year, in line with previous guidance.
Based on current forecasts, Portmeirion shares offer a forecast yield of 3.8% after this morning’s falls. Assuming a drop in profits of about 10%, the stock now trades on roughly 14 times forecast earnings.
If the management view that this is a short-term blip is correct, this could be a buying opportunity. But for now, I’d rate the shares as a hold.
Housebuilders still bullish
Housebuilders were among the biggest casualties of the Brexit sell-off, but so far evidence of a downturn in business is slim. Shares in Bovis Homes rose by 5% this morning after the group said that the number of houses sold rose by 5% during the first half. The group’s average selling price rose by 15% £255,000 as it focused on family homes in southern England.
The EU referendum got a brief mention, but only to say that it was too early to say what the impact might be on the housing market.
So is Bovis a buy? The group remains confident in its outlook for 2016 and the shares are now 35% cheaper than they were at the start of the year. At 650p, Bovis trades about 10% below its tangible net asset value and offers a forecast yield of 6.9% for the current year.
Bovis’s focus on the south of England should also be advantageous. My only concern is that it really is too soon to say how the housing market will react to Brexit.
Genel Energy has downgraded its production guidance for the current year to between 53,000 and 60,000 bopd per day, from a range of 60,000 and 70,000 bopd previously.
The group is drilling a number of new wells to help address falling reserves in its Taq Taq field. That’s useful, but in my view isn’t enough to make Genel shares a buy.
While all oil companies have to contend with low oil prices, Genel also faces the twin challenge of operating in a region where payments are uncertain and usually in arrears. The group’s results in March showed estimated arrears of $365m, which Genel doesn’t expect to receive this year.
While Genel’s financial position is still stable, it’s not as strong as it was. The group now has nearly $700m of debt. The shares could deliver big gains from current levels, but the uncertain financial outlook deters me.
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Roland Head 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.