Thursday is fast becoming another tough day for share investors. The FTSE 100 for one is down by triple digits again and below 5,000 points once more. However, not everything is down heavily from last night’s close.
Greencore Group (LSE: GNC), for instance, was recently up 18% from Wednesday’s close and trading around 125p per share. It had fallen below the 100p marker and to six-year lows in midweek trading.
Food producers like Glencore usually become lifeboats for frightened investors in times like these. And it’s not difficult to see why. We all need to eat regardless of what social, economic, or political upheaval is unfolding outside our windows, of course.
This FTSE 250 firm’s traditional role as a safe haven hasn’t come to the fore more recently, however. Sure, we still need food, but the rate at which the coronavirus is speeding through the UK population has fuelled fears it could struggle to meet demand.
News, then, that Greencore’s operations have remained resilient despite the Covid-19 breakout has boosted investor sentiment today. News this morning that chief executive Patrick Coveney has bought nearly half a million pounds worth of shares has helped it bounce back too.
In an unscheduled update on Wednesday, the food producer said it had “implemented an extensive range of measures to keep colleagues safe.” It’s a programme that seems to be paying off for the time being. Greencore noted that “[our] supply chain and production network have remained fully operational” despite rising infection rates.
Volumes are “holding up well,” it added, although there’s been “a pronounced change” in mix across different parts of its product portfolio and across supermarkets too.
Things could change quickly, of course, but I believe Greencore’s low price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 6.6 times bakes in this possibility. This is a reading that could help its share price record more gains in the coming sessions.
Another recent riser
Dignity (LSE: DTY) is another share that’s risen while everything else continues to crumble around it. It’s down 38% over the past month, but has sharply rebounded this week. It was last dealing close to 350p per share. It closed at 16-year troughs below 295p just seven days ago.
The grim reality is that pandemics like these push demand for funeral services to breaking point. Dignity is one of the country’s largest operators in this area and runs more than 800 funeral homes and 46 crematoria in the UK. I think this is a company that stands to be extremely busy in the next few months, much as I wish it wasn’t the case.
A report earlier this week from Imperial College suggested the awful prospect that as many as 250,000 people could perish from Covid-19 and issues connected to it unless the government adopts stricter quarantine measures. To put this into context, a total of 584,000 died during the whole of 2019 alone.
Despite its recent share price upswing, I feel Dignity is still extremely cheap on paper. A P/E ratio for 2020 sits well inside the bargain-basement benchmark of 10 times and below. This is a share that, like Greencore, has plenty more scope to grow in value in the days ahead.
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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Greencore. 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.