Should you buy these mid-cap shares after today's news?

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

Though FTSE 100 companies have been volatile since the EU referendum and have provided some bargain opportunities, it would be a mistake not to look further down the table in search of smaller possibilities. Here are three with first-half results today.


Brainy stuff

Allied Minds(LSE: ALM) has an unusual company name, but it does seem to fit its role in helping to bring innovative technological ideas from US academia and defence to market. After flotation in 2014, the shares soared impressively, but since a peak of 725p in April 2015, it's been all downhill. Today the shares trade at 387p, and that's after a 5.5% fall on interim results day today.

The year so far has really been one of seeking funding and spending money on looking for the next big hope, and with revenue of only $1.3m the company reported a first-half loss of $52.2m. The trouble with an investment like this is that its very nature is going to make business erratic -- there have been some impressive successes so far, but there are bound to be wilderness years interspersed with those, and after three years of losses there are no profits currently on the horizon.

Allied Minds is one of top investment manager Neil Woodford's growth picks, but you'd have to be sure it fits your investing strategy before you jump aboard. I'd say it's possibly a good home for a small amount of high-risk cash that wouldn't hurt you too much if you lost it -- and if it comes good you could do very well. But the impossibility of quantifying any kind of valuation right now, and my move away from high-risk growth in my mature years, means it's not one for me.

Infrastructure profits

Shares in infrastructure development firm John Laing Group(LSE: JLG) picked up a nice 6% to take them to 250p, on the back of a solid set of interim figures that showed a pre-tax profit of £108.3m, and a 12.5% rise since December in the firm's assets under management, to £1,277.5m. The firm's investment portfolio yielded cash of £18.3m, up from £11.4m a year previously, and there's an interim dividend of 1.85p coming.

The shares are now valued at a forward P/E of just 6.7, dropping as low as 5.8 on 2017 forecasts, so why so cheap? The property and infrastructure outlooks in the UK are uncertain right now, and the market really doesn't like uncertainty. But there's a 36% rise in EPS forecast for this year and another 14% in 2017, giving us very attractive PEG valuations of 0.2 and 0.4. The dividend, which looks set to deliver yields of 3.2% and 3.6% for this year and next, would be more than four times covered by earnings. What's not to like in that combination of growth and income?

The company also pointed to its "strong and diversified pipeline of both [public private partnerships] and renewable energy opportunities," and suggested that its operations in a "market for infrastructure which is mainly driven by population growth, urbanisation and climate change" provide it with plenty of opportunities for which it enjoys keen advantages.

The analysts seem to think John Laing is a buy. Me too.

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Alan Oscroft 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.