3 stunning FTSE 100 growth stocks! AstraZeneca plc, Persimmon plc & British American Tobacco plc

Royston Wild explains why earnings are set to ignite at AstraZeneca plc (LON: AZN), Persimmon plc (LON: PSN) and British American Tobacco plc (LON: BATS).

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Today I’m running the rule over three FTSE 100 growth greats.

Build a fortune

With property prices marching steadily higher, I reckon construction play Persimmon (LSE: PSN) is a great bet to deliver reliable earnings growth in the near term and beyond.

Indeed, the housebuilder has seen the bottom line swell at a compound annual growth of 47.3% in the past five years as homes demand has outpaced construction activity.

And I fully expect a cocktail of strong wage growth, government ‘Help To Buy’ purchasing schemes, and favourable lending conditions to keep house prices spiralling higher.

Rising building costs are expected to take the heat out of earnings growth at Persimmon, however, and the bottom line is expected to rise 5% and 8% in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Still, investors should bear in mind that these figures produce ultra-low P/E ratings of 10.3 times for this year and 9.6 times for 2017.

Make smoking returns

There’s no doubt that more negative social attitudes towards smoking — a trend that’s being exacerbated by escalating regulatory restrictions — is casting a pall over cigarette giants like British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS).

Of course investors should be wary of massive structural changes in any market. But I believe British American Tobacco has what it takes to hurdle the impact of falling industry volumes by steadily gaining market share. Indeed, the London company saw volumes of revenue-driving brands like Pall Mall and Dunhill rise 10.5% during January-March, the firm advised today. This is up from the 8.5% increase reported for 2015.

And I expect ongoing investment in these labels to keep sending sales higher. But British American Tobacco isn’t standing still, and is making a charge in the white-hot e-cigarettes market to mitigate the impact of falling sales in its traditional markets.

As a consequence, the City expects British American Tobacco to enjoy earnings rises of 10% and 8% in 2016 and 2017, respectively. I reckon consequent P/E ratings of 17.9 times for this year and 16.5 times represent decent value given the firm’s hot growth prospects.

Pills powerhouse

At first glance medicines play AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) may not be an obvious choice for growth hunters. The firm has seen the bottom line tank during each of the past four years, and the City doesn’t expect earnings to turn higher in the near future.

Indeed, AstraZeneca has warned that patent expirations for its cholesterol treatment Crestor in the US, for example, will drive both revenues and core earnings lower by low to mid single-digit percentages in 2016.

This view is shared by the number crunchers, and AstraZeneca is anticipated to suffer a 5% bottom-line fall this year. Furthermore, an extra 2% decline is chalked in for 2017.

Still, I believe the pharma play is a great selection for long-term investors. AstraZeneca’s bubbly pipeline is anticipated to deliver sterling returns from this year onwards, particularly in the fast-growing oncology segment. And surging healthcare spending in emerging regions should undergird stunning earnings expansion at AstraZeneca and its peers.

And what’s more, AstraZeneca’s P/E rating of 14.6 times for the current period represents a great level upon which to latch onto the firm’s exceptional growth prospects, in my opinion.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AstraZeneca. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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