I have to confess I’m pretty surprised at the lack of dip buying action over at WPP (LSE: WPP).
The advertising giant’s share price started its painful slide back in March after it warned that like-for-like sales would slow considerably in 2017, to 2%. The firm has now shed 28% of its value since then and, while it may have bumped off the 19-month lows hit in September, stock picker appetite remains patchy at best.
At face value my positive take on WPP could be considered out of whack with reality given that news flow has continued to deteriorate. In August the company announced it was cutting its full-year forecasts again (like-for-like revenues are now expected to range between zero growth and 1% growth) “following the pressure on client spending in the second quarter particularly in the fast moving consumer goods… sector.”
However, signs are emerging that global ad revenues may be back on the way up, and a number of major forthcoming events (such as the US mid-term elections and FIFA World Cup in 2018) should help the top line to recover as we move into 2018 and beyond. I thus believe WPP’s share price may have finally bottomed.
Looking further down the tracks, I believe WPP’s broad global wingspan and aggressive M&A strategy should deliver abundant investment returns in the years ahead. Just last month its global digital agency Wunderman bought a majority stake in US-based marketing software integration and solutions firm Pierry.
A growth and dividend star
Despite the troubles WPP is currently enduring, these are not expected to put paid to its long-running record of earnings growth — bottom-line increases of 7% and 5% are forecast for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
And these forecasts make the FTSE 100 business a stunning bargain, the firm trading on a forward P/E ratio of 11.2 times. This should put it in the crosshairs of all serious value chasers.
What’s more, the trading turbulence WPP is experiencing is not expected to curtail its extremely-progressive dividend policy either. Last year’s 56.6p per share dividend is anticipated to march to 61.4p in the current period, resulting in a tasty 4.5% yield. And this increases to 4.8% in 2018 thanks to an estimated 65.2p reward.
Big screen beauty
Unlike WPP, 2017 has proved to be pretty plain sailing over at Cineworld (LSE: CINE) as a steady slate of Hollywood-sourced blockbusters kept box office tickets well bought.
In its latest trading statement of August, the FTSE 250 firm advised that revenues at constant currencies soared 12.4% between January and June, to £420.2m, with sales in the UK and Ireland rising 11.5%. What’s more, strong performances from its screens in Israel, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia driving overseas revenues 28.7% higher.
Cineworld is unsurprisingly expected to see profits continuing to grow in 2017, or so say City brokers, and a 9% advance is currently predicted. The good news does not end here either, an extra 8% rise is forecast for next year.
And I am convinced the conveyor belt of picture-house pyrotechnics from Marvel, DC, Disney and the like slated for the coming years should maintain this upward momentum. I believe Cineworld is a great buy regardless of its slightly-toppy prospective P/E ratio of 18.1 times
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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.