Can these 4 FTSE 250 stocks keep charging in 2016? Tullow Oil plc, Acacia Mining plc, JD Sports Fashion plc and Zoopla Property Group plc

Up graph with bar charts
Up graph with bar charts

Today I am running the rule over four FTSE 250 (INDEXFTSE: MCX) rockets.


Metal marcher

Gold digger Acacia Mining(LSE: ACA) has been swept higher by a resurgent precious metal price, the stock having gained 86% in value since the start of 2016. And there are plenty of factors that could continue to nudge gold, from a 'leave' vote in tomorrow's EU referendum to enduring concerns over emerging market cooling and signs of economic slowing in the US.

But, equally, Acacia's stock price could come under pressure should the 'remain' camp succeed in tomorrow's vote, a development that could deal a hammer-blow to demand for safe-haven assets. And the potential for Fed rate hikes in the months ahead could provide extra stress in the form of a resurgent US dollar.

While a forward P/E rating of 18.8 times may not be unreasonable on paper, I reckon this leaves plenty of room for Acacia to duck should gold values drop.

Training higher

A steady stream of positive trading updates has lit a fire under JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD) in 2016, the tracksuit temple rising 28% since the start of January.

JD Sports commented just last week that "we are well positioned to deliver an excellent first half year result" thanks to the positive impact of the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament on sales. And I reckon the good news should keep on coming as the firm's expansion across the continent pays off.

This view is shared by the City, with double-digit earnings growth expected through to the close of next year at least. And I reckon a prospective P/E rating of 17.8 times represents a bargain given JD Sports' stellar sales momentum.

Property powerhouse

Despite fears of a cooling buy-to-let market on homebuyer demand, shares in Zoopla Property Group(LSE: ZPLA) keep on rocketing -- indeed, the stock has gained 31% in value since New Year's Eve.

And I expect the property website specialist to keep surging as increasingly-favourable lending conditions, rising wages and improving employment support homebuyer activity. Just this week HSBC introduced the first fixed-rate mortgage below 1%.

Like JD Sports, the City expects earnings at Zoopla to keep on exploding this year and beyond. And while a forward P/E rating of 25.5 times may appear a tad toppy, I believe the impact of rampant housebuyer demand on the website's traffic fully merit such a premium.

Running out of fuel?

I am not so optimistic over the revenues outlook for Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW), however.

A resurgent oil price has shoved the oil explorer's share price 55% higher so far in 2016. And investors have piled in on the hopes that maiden production at Tullow's TEN project in Ghana will help it reap the fruits of exploding crude values.

Still, the murky long-term supply indicators denting the oil sector means that I do not share the market's current optimism. And like Acacia Mining, Tullow could see its share price reverse should exploration and production work hit a problem.

I therefore reckon a prospective P/E rating of 87.3 times is far, far too heady given Tullow's patchy growth outlook.

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