During the last five years, Standard Life (LSE: SL) has increased dividends per share in every year. In fact, they have risen from just 13p per share in 2010 and are forecast to be 21.3p this year, which puts Standard Life on a yield of 4.5% at the present time. And, with Standard Lifes dividend payout ratio being 76%, current levels of shareholder payouts appear to be very sustainable.
Of course, theres more to Standard Life than just great income prospects. For example, it has a beta of 1.2 and this means that, during a bull market, its shares should (in theory) move by 1.2% for every 1% change in the wider index. So, while the short term outlook for the FTSE 100 is uncertain, its long term growth potential means that Standard Life could be a great buy at the present time.
While sector peers such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline are struggling to grow their bottom lines as a result of patent expiration and generic competition, BTG (LSE: BTG) is expecting to post stunning growth during the next few years. For example, its bottom line is set to be an incredible 92% higher in financial year 2017 than it is anticipated to have been in the year just ended.
Thats a stunning rate of growth but, even better for its investors, BTG offers a very wide margin of safety at the present time. For example, it has a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.5, which indicates that its shares could soar over the next couple of years.
Prime London property may not be as appealing as it once was, with doubts surrounding the UK economy under a potentially new government and higher stamp duty hurting sentiment in the sector. Despite this, Berkeley (LSE: BKG) is forecast to increase its bottom line by 9% in each of the next two years. Thats ahead of the wider indexs growth rate and, with Berkeley trading at a discount to the FTSE 100, means that it could be due for an upward rerating moving forward.
For example, Berkeley has a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of just 10.9, which is significantly lower than the FTSE 100s P/E ratio of 16. As such, now could be a great time to buy a slice of the company, even though its short term future may be somewhat challenging.
The mining sector is enduring its toughest period in many years, with the price of commodities falling and investor sentiment in the industry at a low ebb. For longer term investors, though, there is an opportunity to profit and one stock that holds great appeal is copper miner, Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO).
It is expected to increase its bottom line by 38% this year and by 27% next year. Thats a stunning rate of growth and, with investor sentiment in the mining sector being so low, Antofagasta trades on a PEG ratio of just 0.5, which gives investors in the company a significant margin of safety. As such, while things could get worse in the short run and Antofagastas share price could come under pressure in the near term, its long term future as an investment seems to be highly appealing.
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