Should you buy last week's risers J D Wetherspoon plc (+7%), Petropavlovsk plc (+6%) and Sportech plc (+15%)?

Punch Taverns pub montage
Punch Taverns pub montage

Today I'm running the rule over three recent Footsie risers.


Drinks darling

Pub chain Wetherspoons (LSE: JDW) enjoyed a chunky bounce last week following the release of bubbly trading numbers.

Wetherspoons advised that like-for-like sales leapt 3.8% during February-April, representing a speeding up of till activity in recent weeks. Total underlying sales were up 3.2% for the period from July of last year to April.

Investor appetite was also stoked by news of a planned £60m share buyback programme for the year to July 2017, Wetherspoons already having purchased £37.3m worth of shares in the current period, the most for almost a decade.

While rising wage costs remain problematic for the firm, I reckon strong demand for Wetherspoons' cut-price ale and food -- allied with its ongoing restructuring programme -- makes the company a robust long-term growth candidate.

So while the pub giant is expected to endure a 7% earnings dip in the current fiscal year, the City expects Wetherspoons to print a 10% rebound in 2018. Consequently a P/E rating of 16.3 times for 2017 drops to 14.8 times for next year, making the stock a tasty value pick in my opinion.

Digger set to slump?

Gold mining giant Petropavlovsk(LSE: POG) surged to fresh record highs last week around 8.8p per share, taking total gains during the past three months to 45%. And the business has kept rising in Monday's session, taking it to within a whisker of the 9p marker.

Gold prices touched their highest level for 2016 at $1,304 per ounce early last week, the yellow metal bolstered again by the Federal Reserve's latest dovish comments regarding interest rate rises.

But while the 'safe-haven' metal may gain further traction should key economic indicators suggest further deterioration, I reckon huge risers like Petropavlovsk remain in danger of a severe correction.

A recovering US dollar could shunt gold prices -- and with it the share values of Petropavlovsk et al -- firmly to the downside should data from across the Pond start to improve, a possible precursor to Fed rate hikes. And the prospect of prolonged physical demand weakness in China and India could also send metal values shuttling lower again.

The City expects Petropavlovsk to keep racking up the losses until 2017 at the earliest. And while recent moves such as the $144m acquisition of Amur Zoloto may be fuelling hopes of a stunning turnaround at the battered firm, I reckon the gold digger remains a risk too far at the present time.

On the ball

Football pools organiser Sportech (LSE: SPO) saw its share price soar last week after a landmark battle against the taxman.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Sportech's assertion that its 'Spot The Ball' competition was a game of chance rather than skill, and should therefore be exempt from VAT. As a result the business is in line to receive £97m back from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Sportech isn't quite out of the woods, however, and an appeal from authorities could see the seven-year case rumble on even longer.

This may not be enough to deter some investors, however, as Sportech represents stellar value based on current forecasts.

Indeed, City predictions of an 11% earnings rise in 2016 leaves Sportech dealing on a P/E rating of just 15.4 times. And the multiple moves to a lip-smacking 11.9 times for 2017 thanks to predictions of a 30% bottom-line advance.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.