Should you buy J D Wetherspoon plc, ICAP plc and Fenner plc following today's news?

Image: Zonf/Getty Images.
Image: Zonf/Getty Images.

Broker ICAP(LSE: IAP) has emerged as one of the big winners from Britain's 'leave' vote last week, it announced on Wednesday. ICAP handled more than $200m worth of currency transactions in the day after the referendum, more than double the usual daily volume.


And the firm -- which is due to rebrand itself as NEX Group in the near future -- expects further Brexit benefits to emerge, ICAP advising that "the subsequent decline in sterling in the FX markets does provide us with a significant windfall benefit."

Still, the operating environment remains extremely difficult for the broker, with revenues slipping 7% during April-June. And ICAP warned that "overall market conditions have been mixed as the malaise in global financial markets, low interest rates and bank deleveraging persists."

Against this backcloth, I reckon a forward P/E rating of 16.3 times fails to fairly reflect the hurdles ICAP faces to transform its worrying revenues outlook.

Not out of the woods

Industrial belt manufacturer Fenner (LSE: FENR) continued its stunning ascent in mid-week trade, the stock hitting levels not seen since last October. Investor appetite was boosted by a trading update in which Fenner confirmed that trading remains in line with expectations.

Indeed, the company -- which provides hardware to the mining and energy industries -- advised that it had achieved "further benefits from operational efficiencies and market share gains" during the period from 1 March to 12 July.

But the weak conditions of its end markets still leaves a cloud hanging over the firm. Fenner commented that "our principal markets [have] shown no recovery and, in some cases... deteriorated further."

Fenner has seen its share price shoot 70% higher from February's troughs, leaving the company dealing on a P/E rating of 20.8 times. This is far too heady given the fragile state of commodity markets, I reckon, and leaves the stock in danger of a severe correction should industry news flow deteriorate.

Toast tasty returns

Pub chain Wetherspoons(LSE: JDW) also bounced in Wednesday business, the share hitting levels not seen since last summer following a positive update on its own.

In a bid to banish the gloom surrounding Britain's exit from the EU, Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin commented that "I believe the UK's economic prospects will improve." Martin did caution that "the unprecedented and irresponsible doom-mongering" from politicians, companies and economists alike "may lead to some kind of slowdown," however.

Regardless, investors were cheered by Wetherspoons' latest set of numbers, which showed like-for-like sales up 4% during the 11 weeks to 10 July. This indicates a recent rush to the bar as sales for the 50 weeks to 10 July grew by 3.4%.

Wetherspoons' restructuring plan is clearly paying off handsomely and I expect demand for the firm's cut-price ale and grub to keep rising. And I reckon the chain is great value at present, the firm's P/E rating of 16.4 times for the year to July 2016 slipping to 14.8 times for the following period.

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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.