These three companies have all updated the market today. Should Foolish investors buy, sell or just watch them right now?
Shares in video game retailer Game Digital (LSE: GMD) have fallen by 5% today after it released a pre-close trading update. It noted that the challenging trading conditions in the UK experienced in the first half of the year have continued into the second half, while in Spain it has experienced good growth.
In response to the difficult operating environment in the UK, Game Digital has implemented an action plan to improve its trading arrangements with suppliers, deliver cost savings across its store estate and redesign its organisational structure as it seeks to become increasingly efficient. This seems to be a sensible strategy and one likely to help to support margins over the short-to-medium term.
Looking ahead, Game Digital is cautious on its sales outlook. This is understandable given the uncertain outlook for the UK economy and with its shares trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 7.8, it appears to be cheap compared to the wider retail sector. However, with risks being high and its future performance difficult to predict, Game Digital appears to be a stock to watch, rather than buy, at the present time.
Shares in specialist insurance group Novae (LSE: NVA) have fallen by 3% today after the release of its first half results. Despite experiencing a challenging period, Novae has been able to deliver impressive numbers that show it’s a relatively resilient business. For example, its gross written premiums increased by 10.8% to £513.1m, while improvements to its underwriting portfolio have delivered an enhanced attritional loss ratio in a softening rating environment.
Furthermore, Novae was able to increase dividends per share by 2.7% after its pre-tax profit rose by 30.7% versus the first half of 2015. This means that Novae now yields 4.8% and with dividends being covered 2.2 times by profit, there seems to be significant potential for rapidly rising dividends over the medium term. Certainly, its outlook remains uncertain, but Novae’s strong balance sheet and dividend potential make it an attractive option for long-term investors.
Meanwhile, shares in Xcite Energy (LSE: XEL) have fallen by 4% after the release of the company’s second quarter results. Its financial outlook remains highly uncertain as, despite having positive discussions with its debt holders, a deal hasn’t yet been struck regarding debt restructuring ahead of the new deadline of 30 September.
Xcite has agreed principal terms for development funding proposals for the first phase development of the Bentley Field. But it still requires a partner to join the development group to either guarantee the full funding package, or to provide any balance of funding that may be required.
With the company making a loss of $600,000 in the second quarter and having a debt pile of around $140m (which has a 30 September deadline), its outlook remains challenging. Therefore, there may be better options on offer elsewhere for Foolish investors.
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Peter Stephens 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.