Asset managers such as Jupiter Fund Management are not a bad proxy for investing in equities markets, if you believe the more optimistic projections for this year. Jupiter beat market forecasts for the amount of assets under management in the final quarter of last year as retail investors in Britain piled into its high-profile mutual funds. The amount invested in such funds grew by 917m pounds to 20.6bn pounds, more than half of this coming from new investment rather than an increase in their value as UK equities markets rose.
The fallout from the Retail Distribution Review is also favourable long-term as investors switch to branded products, even if the next few months could see most involved sitting on their hands until the long-term picture looks clearer. Jupiter is now cash-positive and analysts expect to see this reflected in chunky rises in dividends over the next couple of years. But the shares, after a strong performance since last spring, are on 14 times earnings, which suggests that the run has come to an end unless you take a very bullish view of UK equities, The Times's Tempus column says.
Information services company Experian yesterday revealed that revenue growth is slowing from the high levels seen previously, not least in Latin America, where the business in Brazil benefited from a one-off boost from changes in corporate taxation last time. Organic growth slackened from 9% in the first quarter to 7% in the third and will run at about that rate for the year. As well, Tempus points out, it has an inefficient balance sheet, thanks to its highly cash generative businesses, which has driven speculation of share buybacks, adding to the hefty multiple the shares
enjoy. The shares, up 24p at £10.62, are back to their peak in October and trade on more than 20 times this year's earnings, which suggests that immediate progress could be limited, Tempus adds.
Bloomsbury Publishing's strategy involves increasing its output of academic and professional publishing, which tend to be higher-margin products and offer more e-commerce opportunities. As well, the company has been pursuing an expansion in other English-speaking countries, such as India, as well as growing its "online knowledge hubs." Furthermore, yesterday's trading update showed that the company is making progress on multiple fronts. However, there is some uncertainty over the current-year consensus, hence the 2014 earnings multiple of 8.9 is looking pretty fair. Having said that, any downside is protected by the attractive 5% prospective yield. The Telegraph's Questor team therefore keeps a hold stance.
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