When I think of WH Smith’s (SMWH) I think of a familiar friend on the high street selling magazines, stationery and, in the good old days, 12-inch records from top 80s bands.
What I don’t think of is a rocket-powered growth machine, relentlessly driving earnings and dividends per share upwards every year. But in recent years that is exactly what it’s become.
Defence and security business Cohort (CHRT) has made its second earnings-enhancing acquisition in the current financial year. The latest acquisition is expected to enhance 2015-16 earnings by 15%.
AIM-quoted Cohort sold its space business earlier this year and that gave it a cash pile to finance acquisitions.
We've just had one of the best rallies of the year followed by one of the biggest sell-offs - and they say volatility is dying. Well, this just goes to show just how nervous the market is right now.
Concerns about the rest of the world, with stalling recovery in Europe and slowing growth in China, are leading the market to think this will not bode very well at all for US equities in the medium/long term.
StatPro (SOG) has been supplying portfolio analysis software for two decades and it is going through a major transformation into a cloud-based business. The investment required has hit short-term profit but investors with patience should find it pays off in the longer-term.
The focus is increasing sales of cloud-based product StatPro Revolution, which enables portfolio information to be shared with as many people as the subscriber wants.
Investing in the stock market doesn’t have to be about making a killing or losing it all.
It doesn’t have to be a high-stress roller coaster and you certainly don’t have to sit up all night sweating because one of your investments has cut its dividend. Instead it’s possible to invest simply and sensibly, buying quality shares at attractive prices.
Soft drinks maker Nichols (NICL) has a strong, long-term track record but an unfavourable litigation result has knocked the share price. The underlying business remains strong and the shares provide a steady income.
Nichols has a range of brands that it owns or it licences for the soft drinks market. They include the core brand Vimto, Panda, Sunkist, Levi Roots and Weight Watchers.
It’s hard for me to think of Tate & Lyle Plc (TATE) without immediately thinking “sugar”. However, in 2010 the sugar side of the business, including use of the Tate & Lyle Sugar and Lyle’s Golden Syrup brands, was sold to American Sugar Refining as part of a major restructuring of the company.
But as an investor I’m after a different kind of sweetness; the kind that comes from a reliable dividend which grows progressively over time, and in that department Tate & Lyle is still very much a player.
Germany-focused workspace owner and operator Sirius Real Estate (SRE) has restructured its property portfolio and returned to the dividend list.
Sirius owns and operates 33 business parks, industrial facilities and offices in Germany. The company offers flexible workspace predominantly aimed at small and medium-sized companies, although it also has large companies, such as Siemens, as clients. There is more than one million square metres of lettable space.
NAHL (NAH), the owner of National Accident Helpline, may on the face of it appear to be a legal business but it is really an outsourced marketing business. This means that cash flow is positive unlike its legal clients who have to wait ages to get paid. That means that NAHL Group Plc can offer an attractive yield.
The business floated on AIM at 200p a share at the end of May 2014. Enough new money was raised to pay the costs of the flotation while the rest of the £35m went to existing shareholders.
The stock market is full of clichés and adages. The IG market analysis desk often resounds to these old sayings being bandied around. We might have to get a ‘cliché fine box’ for overuse.
'Sell in May and go away, don't come back til St Leger's Day' is a classic of the genre, suggesting that the summer months are a weak period. (Editor's note: It has been written about on BullBearings several times, including a history lesson from Vince Stanzione and again from Ronnie Chopra).
Thu, 1st Jan - * Rating agency Standard & Poor's has upgraded European economic struggler Cyprus, citing a strong budgetary performance.