As I have observed in the past Thursday seems to be popular day for corporates to put out results and consequently, like today, we often end up with a throng of results on a Thursday.
So I'll cover in brief a few that I have mentioned in the past which are in size order Rolls Royce, Restaurant Group, Safestore & Norcros. So if any of those are of interest then click the read more.
Rolls Royce (RR) demonstrates the risk of trying to catch a falling knife as they say in investment markets as their update today looks like another profits warning on the back of increased headwinds for 2016. I've lost count of how many that is now and I guess we can't be sure that it will be the last either, although previous warnings have provided decent trading opportunities so maybe this one will be the same? The latest problems seem to relate to expected sharply weaker demand in 2016 in the wide-bodied after market, corporate and regional aerospace markets and the offshore marine area and the head winds, as they describe them, are indicated as being £650m.
However they did say that cash flow was unchanged as some of these head winds related to accounting changes. The other potentially ominous line in the statement was on the dividend when they said :
"As a result of the developments set out above the Board of Rolls-Royce will consider changes, if any, to Rolls-Royce's policy related to its payment to shareholders. A further update will be made at the appropriate time."
Which obviously doesn't really tell us anything but does leave it open to some doubt as to what they might intend to do with the dividend going forward on the back of this so I guess we'll have to wait until the final results for more clarity on that, but hopefully if the cash flow is OK they might be prepared to maintain it?
The shares have dived this morning by another 15 to 20% or so as this latest diisappointment is digested. Undoubtedly there is a good business here for the long term and the new CEO Warren East suggests there is scope to improve the existing operations further for the long term benefit of shareholders. The problem remains that short term trading continues to struggle and deteriorate. If you didn't get involved already, this could be a good opportunity to buy perhaps for a trade and probably for the long term, although clearly you need to be prepared for potentially more disappointments on the trading & dividend front but hopefully they might have got all the bad news out now?
Moving on we had a more palatable update from Restaurant Group (RTN), although this was only an in line trading update on the back of 8% sales growth (2% LFL) as they are expecting to open 40 to 45 new sites this year and next. Thus it seems like steady as she goes here although I note the shares are off 3.5% first thing. So perhaps the market was hoping for upgrades to reduce the otherwise expensive looking 20x+ rating for this year.
Meanwhile a more positive update was provided by Safestore (SAFE) the storage company which I have mentioned a couple of times in passing in the past. Like last year they say again this year that they expect their full year results to slightly ahead of the top end of consensus forecasts range which they put at 15.6p to 16.1p. It is a bit of a funny one as it is not your traditional property company and therefore trades expensively to its NAV based on its operational cash flows. However they seem to be operating successfully in some good locations in a growing market which has helped them to deliver a not that stunning 2.74% yield although the dividend has steadily grown over the last six years at around 11% per annum which is not too bad.
Finally talking of not too bad was the interim results from Norcros (NXR) the small £110m market cap company which is best known for its Triton showers brand. In fact it was a pleasant surprise to see that they said: "Given the strong first half performance and momentum within our businesses, the Board now expects the Group to achieve underlying operating profit marginally ahead of market expectations for the year to 31 March 2016." I say a pleasant surprise as some other companies operating in similar DIY & building RMI had warned of softer trading recently.
The other pleasant surprise was the dividend which was raised by 19% to 2.2p which compares with a full year dividend growth forecast of more like 9%. I couldn't see any mention of re-balancing between interim and finals so it seems like there could be an upgrade to dividend forecasts too. Indeed looking at the numbers overall and the extent of the growth, I'm surprised they say that they only expect to be marginally ahead of expectations - so perhaps they are trying to manage expectations by keeping estimates down so they can beat at the full year stage maybe?
So of all these stocks this one looks the most interesting on around 9x with a well covered and growing 3%+ yield at this mornings share price of 195p, which is up by 8% and before any upgrades on the back of these figures. That's all folks I'm off now to look at some more announcements which I haven't had time to look at yet.