Shares in news and information services company Johnston Press (LSE: JPR) have been given a boost today with the release of an update on its pension deficit. In fact, the findings of a study into the companys pension scheme are expected to reduce the present value of the schemes deficit by around 50m as at 2 January 2016.
Furthermore, following a change to the schemes rules, Johnston Press will now be able to participate in any surplus when the scheme closes. Therefore, the application of accounting regulation IFRIC 14 (which resulted in a liability of 3m last year) wont be required. This means that the pension scheme deficit is reduced by as much as 53m.
Clearly, thats very good news for Johnston Press and its shares have soared by as much as 15% in response. However, theyre still down by 74% in the last year and investor sentiment remains relatively weak owing to the downbeat financial performance thathas been a feature of recent years for the business. In fact, Johnston Press has failed to deliver a black bottom line in recent years and although its outlook is more positive than its past, it may be prudent to watch rather than buy it at the present time.
One stock thatalso operates within the technology, media and telecoms space is Vodafone (LSE: VOD). Its shares appear to be well worth buying due in part to the companys strategy of recent years.
For example, Vodafone has invested heavily in its network and infrastructure as it attempts to improve its service offering to customers. This should allow it to at least maintain market share across Europe in future years, with a strategy of acquiring discounted assets such as Kabel Deutschland and Spains Ono also improving the companys long-term growth outlook.
In addition, Vodafone is diversifying into new product areas so as to provide a more stable long-term earnings outlook. Its move into quad play is ongoing and could provide significant cross-selling opportunities while also de-risking Vodafones telecoms exposure.
As ever, Vodafone remains a highly attractive income stock. It currently yields 5.3% and with the outlook for the wider market being highly uncertain, its shares are likely to become increasingly popular due to their excellent track record of delivering steady rises in shareholder payouts. When combined with increased diversity and an impressive long-term growth outlook, Vodafone appears to have considerable appeal as a long-term buy.
Of course, Vodafone has suffered in recent years from its decision to focus to a greater extent on one geographical region: Europe. With GDP growth being slow, Vodafone has been hurt by the decision to scale back its North American operations, but with quantitative easing likely to boost demand in Europe, Vodafone could be a major beneficiary.
Despite this, there’s another stock thatcould outperform Vodafone in the coming years. In fact it’s been named as A Top Growth Share From The Motley Fool.
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