With the long-term outlook for the FTSE 100 being relatively bright, high-beta stocks such as Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) could be worth buying at the present time. That’s because, should the wider market move higher, Aviva’s beta of 1.14 means that its shares should (in theory) move by 1.14% for every 1% change in the value of the FTSE 100.
In addition, Aviva also offers excellent value for money at its current price level. For example, it trades on a price to book (P/B) ratio of just 1.3 which, given its future potential to dominate the life insurance industry, appears to be very attractive. As such, Aviva seems to be a strong buy at the present time; even though its shares have already risen by 18% since the turn of the year.
Although Standard Life’s (LSE: SL) track record of profit growth is somewhat chequered, with it seeing profit decline in two of the last five years, it could be about to enter a purple patch. For example, its bottom line is expected to be 80% higher in 2016 than it was in 2014, which is a significant step forward for the business.
Furthermore, with Standard Life having a beta of 1.27, it could be an excellent performer in a bull market. That’s especially the case since its shares trade on a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of 18.2, which seems low given its aforementioned growth prospects.
RSA (LSE: RSA) continues to struggle to appeal to investors, which is evidenced by the fact that its shares have fallen by 3.5% since the turn of the year. However, for that reason, now could be a great time to buy a slice of it as its new strategy begins to have a positive impact on its top and bottom lines.
In fact, RSA is expected to return to profitability in the current year after two very disappointing, loss-making years. As such, it would be of little surprise for the market to begin to warm to RSA as we move through the year, especially since it trades on a forward P/E ratio of just 12.3.
If you had bought shares in Amlin (LSE: AML) five years ago, you would have received 123p per share in dividends during the period. That works out as a return of 30% on Amlin’s share price from five years ago and, looking ahead, its income prospects appear to be as bright as ever.
For example, Amlin currently yields a very appealing 5.7% and, best of all, its dividends appear to be very sustainable. That’s because they are currently covered 1.5 times by profit, so that even if Amlin endures a challenging period, it has ample headroom to continue to pay a rising dividend to its investors.
And, with interest rates set to remain low, it would be of little surprise if Amlin’s share price were bid up by yield-hungry investors.