2 ASX shares to buy and 1 to avoid this month

Credit: Frédéric BISSON

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has an eclectic mix of companies for investors to choose from. Amongst the mix are some truly amazing companies with bright prospects. But equally so there are unfortunately some not so great companies in there too.

Here are two that I think investors should consider buying, as well as one I think is best avoided:

Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD)

Although its valuation may be getting a little stretched right now, I still see Ardent Leisure as a great long-term buy and hold investment. After offloading its Goodlife Health Clubs the company is now able to turn its attention to its lucrative Main Event family entertainment centres in the United States. In FY 2016 they contributed over a third of total EBITDA, or almost half on a pro forma basis which excludes Goodlife Health Clubs. With a pipeline of new high‐yielding Main Event centres planned throughout the United States, there is a significant amount of growth ahead for Ardent Leisure in my opinion.

Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL)

The share price of Blackmores has fallen almost 25% in the last month, potentially making it a bargain buy today in my eyes. There have been concerns over changes to Chinese import regulations, but management conversely sees these evolving regulations as an opportunity to expand in the retail market. Which is great news for shareholders because in FY 2016 China in-country sales grew 536% to $48 million thanks largely to the success of its omnichannel approach. With its shares changing hands at just 20x full year earnings and providing a fully franked 3.5% dividend, I believe this is a great time to buy.

Estia Health Ltd (ASX: EHE)

Unsurprisingly Estia Health is the share I think investors should avoid. As tempting as it might be for bargain hunters to pick up its shares after their year-to-date drop of over 60%, I wouldn’t personally bet against further declines in the next few months. Whilst a government review into the sector was the reason for this week’s decline, it’s been hard to find anything positive to say about the company in recent times. For example, in the last few weeks earnings came in below expectations, weak future guidance was provided by management, and its founder and non-executive director Peter Arvanitis suddenly resigned and disposed of his 17.7 million shares in a hurry. Times are clearly very hard and unfortunately may remain this way for some time.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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