As the hot summer weather continues, so does the stream of company updates, including some interesting-looking investment candidates. Here are three possibilities from today’s crop.
Top name in self storage
Shares in Big Yellow Group (LSE: BYG) have fallen by 19% since their 2016 peak in May, to 718p as I write. That’s despite full-year results looking very impressive, but it looks to me like it was a justified correction for shares that were getting a little overheated.
A first-quarter update today suggested things are still moving in the right direction for the self storage specialist, with storage area and occupancy both increasing, and revenue up 10% on the same quarter last year (8% like-for-like). Net rent per unit area is also improving. Chief executive James Gibson declined to forecast any effects of the Brexit referendum, but Big Yellow’s business is 100% in the UK and doesn’t look to be at risk.
The only thing that concerns me is that the shares still look a bit highly valued, on a forward P/E of 20 with EPS growth of 11% forecast. The multiple does drop to 18 on march 2018 forecasts and dividend yields of around 4% are attractive, but we could see the share price faltering if and when growth slows.
If you’re looking for safety in the insurance market in these early Brexit days, it’s hard to beat a Lloyds of London insurer. And today, Beazley (LSE: BEZ) released half-time results that looked pretty solid. Pre-tax profit dipped slightly to $150.2m, but gross written premiums rose by 2% to $1,124m and net investment income grew from $43.5m a year ago to $62.7m.
Chief executive Andrew Horton put the firm’s success down to its US business continuing to grow strongly, and to its ability to attract “talented underwriters with entrepreneurial flair” after adding 36 newcomers to the pool.
Should we buy the 393p shares? Well, there’s a 19% fall in EPS forecast for this year with a further 2% drop pencilled-in for 2017, and this year’s predicted 5.6% dividend yield would drop to 4.2%. But with the shares valued at 13 times earnings, they still look like reasonable long-term value to me.
Efficiency in gold
I confess I’m not a big fan of gold or of gold miners, as it’s a market that’s entirely dependent on the fickleness of sentiment. But one thing I do like about Acacia Mining (LSE: ACA) is its low cost of production. According to first-half results released today, Acacia enjoys a cash cost of $595 per ounce, 23% less than a year previously, with the shiny stuff selling for $1,330 today. But against that, the company’s all-in sustaining cost stands at $926 per ounce, and its profits are highly geared on the retail price.
Gold production in the second quarter came in 19% higher than last year, and the firm is expanding its exploratory activity across Africa at what it says is low cost.
The shares are up 8.5% to 565p on the day as I write, and have soared by 53% since Brexit referendum day on 23 June, so is Acacia a share worth buying? I still see gold as an investment for short termers, and it’s definitely not one for me.
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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Beazley. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.