... or Independence Day as Nigel Farage is calling it, so there may be some buying opportunities today in all the turmoil. I'll delay updating the Scores today until the close of play so they will reflect the (presumably ) lower prices. Keep calm and carry on, but probably worth waiting for the dust to settle as there will still be all those other global issues out there to worry about as well as the new unknown future for the UK outside the EU.
Given the forthcoming referendum and all the volatility caused in the market I have today updated the Scores ahead of the final outcome. By way of example I have run a quick filter on the data looking for top quartile ranked stocks on the Scores which flag as oversold and have a PE(Y1) of <15 and a Dividend Yield (Y1) of > 3%.
I attach a file below with the results, if that is of any interest to you. If you are not already a subscriber you can learn more about the Scores and how to subscribe by clicking here or using the Scores tab in the navigation section at the top.
As ever please note these are not a recommendation to buy the stocks featured, but could be a starting point for further research if any of the names appeal to you and you are looking to invest some cash.
Well only two days to go now before the UK's referendum on membership of the EU. Now if like me you are getting bored with all the arguments and slanging matches going on then it is worth remembering that there are other issue out there to be concerned about aside from this. Thus while we may well get a big move Blue Friday if the EU remain campaign wins and presumably a Black Friday if Leave win - according to George Soros in the Guardian, sounding like a EU minister. Hmm perhaps he is betting on Sterling this time around?
Any way the bigger issues out there have been highlighted in a couple of articles recently by Andrew Lapthorne the head of quantitative strategy at Societe Generale & Neil Woodford our best known fund manger who looked at what a BREXIT might mean for the UK and highlighted the bigger issues out there. As he said these are likely to be impacting us long after the EU referendum has been forgotten.
So in terms of thinking longer term about your portfolio I thought I'd share an interesting piece I read recently from Paul Hill an analyst at Equity Development called "Smart Investing and how to generate positive Alpha." Now don't be put off by the title as there is a lot of common sense advice in there which could help you in planning and building your portfolio's in the long run. You can download a copy below at the end of this post if that is of interest to you.
Finally I was debating whether I should add some EU referendum themed music, but having just heard BBC 5 Live's Wake Up to Money doing it - what the hell here goes.
They played the obvious Final Countdown by Europe and mentioned the other obvious appropriate tune Should I Stay or Should I go by the Clash. While in the background to their piece they played I just don't know what to do with myself - By the White Stripes, while I had thought of the much less cool and more cheesy but perhaps appropriately the Eurovision entry - Making your mind up by Bucks Fizz. While I had thought of an obscure track by ABC - called United Kingdom which had some strangely appropriate lyrics like "enrolment was easy, getting out proved to be the difficulty" - although we seem likely to be anything but United after this process. While finally if it goes the way of leave then it will supposedly be more likely to be Anarchy in the UK.
Which left me thinking if the whole idea of BREXIT is such a bad one why on Earth did Cameron call a referendum in the first place? I suspect it was more about halting the rise of UKIP at the last Election and it was probably a suggestion from a clever spin doctor to offer a referendum if they won the election as nobody expected them to win!
Having done that and then having had his bluff called, despite not getting substantive reform, he has still come out in favour of remain despite claiming he had an open mind - hey ho I guess that's what they wanted all along as apparently they are using the same tactics which were used when Denmark voted on their EU membership.
Any way it will thankfully all be over in a few days and we can go back to worrying about bigger issues in the World and markets. But I guess as the old saying goes you should be careful what you wish for. So at least I'll presumably enjoy a decent rally in the market on Blue Friday if the EU remain camp win, even if it is not what I wished for. Cheers and don't forget to vote on Thursday whichever way you want to go and may you get what you wish for.
A couple of smaller Companies have delivered better than expected dividends today by paying dividends that were in line with what analysts had forecasted for 2017. First up was Norcros (NXR) the £100m market cap. shower, tiles and bathroom fittings company which has proved to be a very frustrating value investment in the last couple of years.
I say frustrating because it has often looked cheap, generally delivered good results, but the price has traded sideways to down (see chart). This may be due to its chequered history, its South African exposure or possibly it rather large (in relation to the their market cap.) pension deficit of £55.7m compared to a deficit of £44.3m last year. The Group made deficit recovery contributions of £2.1m (2015: £2.1m) into its UK defined benefit pension scheme during the year as part of the 2012 deficit recovery plan. The March 2015 triennial actuarial valuation process for the Group's UK defined benefit pension scheme has now been completed and shows a deficit of £73.5m (2012: £61.9m) representing an 84% funding level (2012: 85%). The increased deficit is driven predominantly by historically low gilt yields. A revised deficit recovery plan has been agreed with the Scheme Trustee, with a cash contribution of £2.5m per annum starting in April 2016, and increasing with CPI, replacing the existing agreement to pay £2.1m plus CPI per annum. This is payable over the next ten years and thereby provides a greater degree of certainty around future deficit recovery contributions. The Group's contributions to its defined contribution pension schemes were £2.7m (2015: £2.6m).
Thus if you are holding this one or looking at it then this is something you need to be aware of given recent news flow on this issue in relation to BHS and Tata Steel that I wrote about recently. However for the time being the company has a recovery plan in place, is still paying dividends and as I said at the start just increased it more than expected on the back of the success of their recent acquisitions. So the management seem confident of further progress and the pension deficit does not seem to be a major problem at the moment, although it is costing them nearly £3m a year which is included in their numbers in any event.
On current forecasts for this year at a price of 180p (+4% today) it trades on around 7x with a 3.6% historic yield which I estimate could rise to 4% if upgrades to the dividend forecast come through on the back of today's forecast busting pay out. So I would say it continues to look good value and Scores 90 on the Compound Income Scores and as such is attractive. I guess time will tell if these results can spark a re-rating or if it continues to frustrate by going sideways.
The second even more esoteric smaller company which paid out next years forecast dividend this year was Park Group (PKG) the £134m Market Cap. multi-retailer voucher and prepaid gift card business which also does Christmas Hampers & Love2Shop vouchers etc.
Interestingly the business has seen a change in the business mix over the years and the hamper business now only represents less than 2% of their revenues as they have modernized the business in recent years. Thus if that was your perception of what the business is it might be worth revisiting as it may offer some value trading on around 12 to 13x with a historic yield of 3.75% after this years near 15% increase. For example they say:
"The majority of our business is in the UK where economic stability and consumer confidence have improved over recent years. This environment, together with our successful management strategy and commitment to our customers, has generated a steady rise in billings, which have increased close to 30 per cent since 2011, while profit before tax and other operating income has advanced almost 70 per cent. This performance reflects the benefits of our investment in IT infrastructure, digital platforms and new product development."
They say their balance sheet is positive and the cash position remains strong with sufficient funds available to comfortably finance working capital and further investment. Total cash balances at the year end, including monies held in trust, reached £104m (2015 - £89m), although this nets down to only £28.8m if you exclude the money held in trust for pre-payments products. There is little in the way of net assets here and they have negative retained earnings so quite a weird balance sheet with lots of cash and offsetting liabilities to go with it, so they may put you off. Otherwise there is no pension deficit here to speak of and it only cost them about £0.7m per annum so what they have is manageable.
So as I say a slightly esoteric one which is probably quite hard to get your head around, but it may offer some value alongside a reasonable and growing yield on the back of a changed and modernised business supplying alternative payment methods to poorer consumers and incentive schemes for corporates.
Thus we have two small caps delivering bumper dividends despite all the talk of dividends being under pressure this year. Worth remembering though that both these are quite dependant on consumer spending, so maybe this is as good as it gets for them if we do see a BREXIT and get the threatened recession, housing market collapse, rising rates, falling wages, rising inflation etc. etc. promised by the remain campaign. As ever I guess time will tell on that.
Having updated the Compound Income Scores (CIS) for subscribers this morning I thought I would share an idea coming out of the latest run. One aspect of them is an over bought / over sold or OB/OS indicator that I like to use to help time entries into good quality growing yield stocks at reasonable prices. I base this indicator on a combination of short term and longer term price momentum indicators and I tend to use it in conjunction with the the share price chart and a traditional 14 day RSI OB/ OS indicator. The short term indicator I use is the one month relative performance on the basis that this has been found to be mean reverting i.e. strong rises or falls have a tendency to reverse the next month, although each individual situation will be different depending on the circumstances. Meanwhile the longer term indicator is based on the distance that the price is above or below the 200 day moving average (roughly one year). Again I have found when this get extended in either direction there is a tendency for this to revert towards the average over time.
Any way this is probably best illustrated by a current example of a small stock Zytronic (ZYT) which makes large robust touch screens for specialist applications and currently comes out at the top of the list. On this OB/OS measure the stock comes in with a Score of 16 suggesting it is in the bottom 20% of stocks (most oversold) in my 600+ universe.
Now they had interim results last month which seemed fine to me, although may have disappointed some as the turnover was flat. This was to some extent expected and consistent with their strategy of moving away from the business' traditional glass displays and growing its technologically advanced touch product business. This included a dividend increase of 10% which is in line with full year forecasts and I note that the earnings have been upgraded since the results giving me some confidence that the full year dividend of 13.2p will be achieved. This is also covered twice by forecast earnings and backed up by strong cash flow and nearly £10m of cash on the balance sheet versus the market cap of around £56m.
On current upgraded forecasts with the shares at their depressed 360p price they trade on a fairish looking 14x or so, although adjusted for the cash this could be 12x or less and they come with a yield of 3.7% and the shares are currently cum the interim of 3.45p until they go XD on 7th July, which is worth about 1%.
So I would say they look over sold and offer reasonably good value if you adjust for the cash and the chart shows they are towards the bottom end of their recent range. I do however note the gap on the chart earlier in the year at around 307p which do have a tendency of being filled in the medium term. So if you are not inclined to buy any stock at the moment due to the BREXIT debate then it might be worth putting this one on your watch list with a price alert for less than say 310p. I note it also Scores 94 on the Stockopedia Stock Ranks.
So there you go there's a good value and good quality stock which is looking over sold and towards the bottom of its recent range. It also remains in the Compound Income Scores portfolio which I run along side the Scores. If you are unfamiliar with these then you learn more about them and how to subscribe by following these links to the Scores and the Portfolio.