Good morning everyone,

Paul is off today, so I'll be adding various updates below.

It's a quiet day for results but there are quite a few trading updates and smaller announcements, I'll see how many I can get through!

Churchill China (LON:CHH)

Share price: 945p (+11%)
No. shares: 11m
Market cap: £104m

Full Year Trading Update

This is a very old family business which has crossed my radar once before - last summer, when I thought the valuation multiple was a bit too hot to buy into.

The shares are up by 30% since then and today's full-year trading update explains why:

Trading in the final quarter of the year has been ahead of earlier expectations. Performance in export markets has remained strong reflecting continued progress with new products and more favourable exchange rates. The Board now expects that operating performance will be ahead of current market estimates and well ahead of 2015. Additionally, cash and deposit balances are also expected to exceed current market estimates.

2016 was a brutal year for exchange rate risk. Some people (e.g. myself) were caught on the wrong side of the investment outcome, and found ourselves too heavily invested in importers. Exporters had a much better time.

That's not to take anything away from a company like Churchill, however, which is a very good business in its own right - cash rich, prudently managed, reasonable returns on capital, and a respected name in the industry.

It's the sort of stock you might have in a "buy-and-forget" portfolio, though I'd probably still be a little bit fussier on entry price than to buy into it here. It might be suitable for those running more diversified portfolios.

The StockRank sums it up: super-high quality, rather expensive.


Costain (LON:COST)

Share price: 370p (+4%)
No. shares: 104m
Market cap: £385m

Year End Trading Update


Appointment to £500m Major Projects Framework

Encouraging noises from Costain:

Since the announcement of its interim results on 24 August 2016, the Group has continued to perform well and expects to deliver full-year results in line with the Board's expectations...

As a result, the Group's order book at the year-end was maintained at the record level of £3.9 billion (31 December 2015: £3.9 billion).  The Group…

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