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Many FTSE 100 shares have been gaining ahead of upcoming announcements. I wouldn’t advocate attempts at short-term timing, but thinking about a company ahead of results can help us focus on those we think have long-term prospects.
Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) should deliver first-half results on 8 February. And it certainly looks like optimism has been returning. Barratt shares are down heavily over the past 12 months, but we’ve seen a sharp upturn since October 2022.
In its January trading update, the housebuilder reported a 7% increase in completions in the half. The full effects of mortgage interest rises are unlikely to have fed through yet, though. So we could see pressure on the company’s full-year outlook.
The forward order book, at 10,511 homes, is a fair bit down on the 14,818 orders at the same point last year. But it still looks healthy to me. Barratt should report approximately £965m in net cash, after dividends and share buybacks. It looks like it should be in a strong position to weather the expected property downturn.
I expect further volatility in 2023, and very possibly some pressure on the dividend. But I see long-term undervaluation here.
Next we come to the perpetually undervalued Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY). Well, I reckon it’s been undervalued since I bought some, anyway. Full-year results are due on 22 February. And again, we’ve seen a share price recovery since October.
As the UK’s biggest mortgage lender, Lloyds is more exposed to the property market than the rest of the banking sector. And while higher interest rates can boost lending profits, lower mortgage sales are not so good.
The first nine months of the year brought a 12% rise in net income. But the bank did record a £1bn impairment charge, which knocked profit before tax down a bit.
The impairments outlook is something I want to examine, as it could contribute to renewed share price weakness through the likely recession. I’m not calling a Lloyds recovery yet, and I’m expecting another volatile year. But I see long-term undervaluation again.
Rolls-Royce Holdings (LSE: RR.) is set to deliver full-year figures on 23 February. The shares have also been picking up since late 2022. But they’ve dipped a bit of late as we get closer to results day.
The aero engine maker does seem to be getting back on track. For the four months to the end of October, Rolls reported a return to 65% of 2019 large engine flying hours. Its Power Systems division enjoyed record order intake too, and two five-year defence contracts worth $1.8bn were renewed.
The downside is the firm’s financial situation. After the disposal of ITP Aero, Rolls paid off £2bn in debt early. But there was still “approximately £4bn of drawn debt outstanding.” I want to see the year-end outlook on that.
I’m expecting long-term strength and a return to growth at Rolls-Royce. I’m just not sure of the current valuation, which might not leave much safety margin.