Shares in National Grid (LSE: NG) (NYSE: NGG.US) have disappointed thus far in 2015, having fallen by 2% while the FTSE 100 has risen by 6%. Part of the reason for this is concern that interest rates are set to rise either this year or next, which means that the companys significant debt pile may become more difficult to service.
Of course, interest rate rises are inevitable, but the speed and timing of their rise may not hurt National Grid all that much. For starters, deflation is set to push back the timetable of rises, and an inherent fear among policymakers regarding raising them too quickly could mean their pace of increase is somewhat pedestrian. All of this bodes well for National Grid, while its price to earnings (P/E) ratio of 15.4 indicates that it still offers good value for money.
One of the challenges for mining companies such as Centamin (LSE: CEY) is delivering results that are relatively stable. And, while Centamin has increased its bottom line in four of the last five years, the nature of its business means that it is hugely dependent upon external factors (e.g. pricing) when it comes to profitability. As such, this year is set to see the companys bottom line fall by 32%, with weaker investor sentiment causing the companys share price to dip by 2% in the last year.
However, looking ahead, Centamin is expected to return to growth next year to the tune of 22%. This could quite easily catalyse investor sentiment and help to push the companys share price northwards especially since Centamin has a P/E ratio of 11 at the present time.
Todays results from Whitbread (LSE: WTB) show that the owner of Premier Inn and Costa Coffee has considerable long term growth potential. Thats mainly because it is seeking to expand rapidly in China, with the company planning on nearly trebling the number of its coffee shops in the worlds second largest economy over the next five years. Furthermore, it plans to increase by over a third the number of Premier Inn rooms in the UK, with strong growth in the sector anticipated over the medium to long term.
And, while Whitbread will shortly be looking for a new CEO, following the news that Andy Harrison will step down, it appears to be on the cusp of a very strong period of growth.
Shares in Shire (LSE: SHP) have delivered a superb performance since the turn of the year, with them having risen by a very impressive 18% year to date. And, looking ahead, there could be much stronger performance to come, since the pharmaceutical company offers very upbeat growth prospects over the next few years at a time when the wider sector is enduring a challenging period due to patent losses and generic competition.
For example, Shire is expected to increase its earnings by 17% next year as it targets a doubling of sales by 2020. As such, its price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 1.1 indicates that now could be a great time to buy a slice of it for the long run.
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