Over the last year, shares in AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) (NYSE: AZN.US) have soared by 23% as the company has been the subject of several bid approaches from US rival, Pfizer. Despite US regulators taking steps to close a loophole which made buying AstraZeneca advantageous from a tax perspective for Pfizer, further bids from the US firm and others could lie ahead for AstraZeneca. And, of course, this would be very positive news for investors.
The key reason for future bid potential is AstraZenecas improving pipeline. Just a few years ago, it lacked drugs to replace those going off-patent, but after a vast spending spree, it now has a world-class pipeline and is forecast to grow earnings by 2017. As such, now could be a great time to add it to your ISA.
While shares in Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) have risen by 18% in the last month alone, they still offer a superb yield of 4.6%. This is clearly very appealing but, looking ahead, things are set to get much better for the banks investors on the income front. Thats because Standard Chartered is forecast to raise dividends by 2.7% next year, but also because it has a rather modest payout ratio that could be increased.
For example, Standard Chartered currently pays out just 53% of profit as a dividend and, while it needs to reinvest for future growth, a higher payout ratio is very achievable. As such, even if profitability does stagnate over the medium term, Standard Chartered should prove to be an excellent income play.
Todays update from Bellway (LSE: BWY) shows that the company is making encouraging progress and is well-worth buying at the present time. In fact, its bottom line has risen by 53% and, looking ahead, further growth is forecast for the house builder with earnings due to rise by 34% in the current year and by a further 10% next year.
Despite this excellent growth rate, Bellway still trades on a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of just 10, which indicates that its shares could move much higher. As such, and while the General Election could cause short term weakness in its share price, Bellway is a superb long term buy.
Its been a tough year for investors in Sports Direct (LSE: SPD), with the budget retailer seeing its share price fall by 23%. However, it now appeals to an even greater degree and, with the potential for further European expansion, it could be about to deliver improved results over the next couple of years.
In fact, Sports Direct is expected to increase its bottom line by 15% next year, and 12% the year after. And, when this growth rate is combined with its P/E ratio of 17.5, it equates to a price to growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.1, which indicates that growth is on offer at a very reasonable price. As such, it could turn the tables on its recent disappointing share price performance and become a winning stock in your ISA.
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