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2 best FTSE 250 stocks to watch as inflation hits 30-year high



Tritax Big Box REIT shares and Greggs shares could be two of the best FTSE 250 stocks to watch as the global economy reconfigures.

ftse 250Source: Bloomberg
 Charles Archer | Financial Writer, London | Publication date: Wednesday 23 March 2022 

Over the past six months, FTSE 100 stocks have risen in value by 5.5%, while FTSE 250 stocks are down 12%.

This could be due to a capital flight to safety. As inflation, interest rates, and Brent Crude soars, the FTSE 100’s big four banks and two oil majors are becoming ever more appealing.

However, this might be leaving some of the best FTSE 250 stocks undervalued. And as the UK’s economy reconfigures, there are two in particular that could be primed to soar.

Best FTSE 250 stocks: Tritax Big Box REIT

Tritax Big Box REIT (LON: BBOX) is the UK’s ‘largest logistics-focused land platform,’ and predominantly invests in large-scale warehouses which it rents out to ‘the world’s leading companies,’ including the likes of Amazon and Tesco.

Its share price recovered from its 105p March 2020 covid-19 pandemic low within three months and then soared to 249p by 31 December 2021. Having dipped slightly to 239p today, its land assets could see it hit further highs soon.

In full-year results, Chairman Aubrey Adams boasted of ‘our strongest results to date with total accounting returns of 30.5%,’ boosted by ‘the long-term structural changes in our market.’ And encouragingly, it saw a 24.3% year-over-year increase in its portfolio value to £5.48 billion.

Russia’s war against Ukraine, rising inflation, and the pandemic-induced supply chain squeeze have worked together to demonstrate the true risks of just-in-time supply chains. Currently, swathes of the world’s largest exporter China are in lockdown.

The breadbasket of the world has stopped exporting. Over the past two years, retailers left with empty shelves have lost millions of pounds of potential revenue. And with no end in sight for the supply chain crisis, demand for warehouse space is only likely to increase.

Moreover, this real estate investment trust allows potential shareholders to benefit from the property boom while enjoying this defensive quality in case interest rate rises cause a correction.

However, it has in the past issued new shares to generate capital to buy more land. In the long term, this strategy has seen the share price increase, but it’s also caused short-term falls and periods of volatility.

greggsSource: Bloomberg

FTSE 250 shares: Greggs

Greggs (LON: GRG) shares peaked at 3,412p on 30 December, before falling to 2,206p by 8 March. However, they are now worth 2,470p apiece, slightly above their pre-pandemic value.

In preliminary full-year results, the baker saw sales rise 5.5% to £1.23 billion compared to pre-pandemic levels. Accordingly, pre-tax profit rose to £145.6 million, a huge success compared to its 2020 £13.7 million loss and 2019 £108.3 million profit.

And the FTSE 250 firm has recommenced colleague profit-sharing, promising to award 10% of profits, or £16.6 million in this instance to employees, while also paying out a total dividend of 97p for the year.

In further good news, Greggs also opened net 103 bakeries last year and plans to open 150 annually for the foreseeable future. Outgoing CEO Roger Whiteside believes that ‘the opportunities for Greggs have never been more exciting. Our investment over recent years has left the business well-placed to move quickly as the economy recovers.’

However, the CEO noted ‘cost pressures are currently more significant than our initial expectations…we do not currently expect material profit progression in the year ahead.’ Accordingly, the business costs are expected to rise between 6-7% in 2022 in line with staffing and raw ingredient cost increases.

This has already ‘necessitated some price increases, which were made at the start of this year.’ Moreover, ‘further changes are expected to be necessary.’

Third Bridge analyst Ross Hindle believes ‘Greggs has been able to punch above its weight thanks to a recipe of competitive pricing, clever location strategy, and their JustEat delivery partnership.’ Meanwhile, Brewin Dolphin’s John Moore praised it as ‘highly cash generative with a rock-solid balance sheet,’ but acknowledged the ‘tricky balancing act’ for cost inflation.

But as consumers return to offices amid biting inflation, it’s likely to remain one of the best value offerings available. Greggs shares may not be so low for long.

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