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The Diageo share price and this growth monster are thrashing the FTSE 100

FTSE 100 real estate investment trustSegro (LSE: SGRO) has enjoyed a blistering five years, its share price rising 113% in that time, roughly 10 times the growth of the FTSE 100over the same period.

Segro growth slows

It is down 1.5% today on publication of its trading update covering 1 January to 16 April, which showed a slowdown in new headline rent growth and secured new pre-lets, although chief executive David Sleath said the business continued to perform well during its first quarter.

New headline rents totalled 21.2m, down from 27.3m in the first quarter of 2018, while secured new pre-lets slipped from 23.3m to 11.1m over the same period (although they remainwell above the three-year quarterly average run rate of 7m).

Lease it out

Sleath hailed particularly strong rent roll growth at 6m, up from 500,000, boosted by the re-gearing of a number of leases in its Heathrow portfolio. The group now has44 projects under construction, which are expected to generate 57m of annualised rent and are already 72% leased.

Segro raised 451m of equity in February to add to its future development pipeline,while it has a number of additional pre-let development projects at advanced stages of negotiation. Sleath said the groups high-quality portfolio of assets in prime locations across the UK and continental Europe should continue to benefit from the structural drivers of e-commerce and urbanisation, despitemacroeconomic and political risks.

Healthy pipeline

With vacancy rates falling to 4.4% (against 5.2% in December), lettings of both existing and recently completed speculative space are strong. Segro completed100,000 square metres of developments in the quarter, capable of generating 3.8m of headline rent when fully let, with 2.8m already secured.

So why was the market response downbeat? I reckon its partly down to the high valuation, with the stock trading at 28.4 times earnings. Paul Summers identified the same problem in February.Also, the yield disappoints at 2.9%, covered 1.2 times, although management policy is progressive. Segro is a good business, but it doesnt look a great investment at todays price.

Thats the spirit

That said, a toppy valuation and low yield does not necessarily make a stock a no-go area. You only have to look at FTSE 100 listed spirits giant Diageo (LSE: DGE) to counter that. Its P/E is routinely in the mid-20s, while its income rarely rises above 2.5%. It is the same story today, as the stock trades on a forecast valuation of 24.5 times earnings while the forecast yield is just 2.2%, with cover of 1.9.

You may have to be patient if you want a better entry point. Diageo is expensive because investors like it, and it usually lives up to expectations.

After a spell in the doldrums, Diageo is up 60% over the past three years. It has also beaten the FTSE 100 with ease and Peter Stephens reckons it will continue to do so, citing strong growth prospects in China and India.EPS are expected to rise 9% this financial year and 7% next year, which is more than steady, and offers security against wider stock market jitters. This is exactly the type of stock you should be looking to buy amid a wider market correction.

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Femi Ogunshakin Managing Director
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