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3 shares that could double in a year: Old Mutual plc, Eland Oil & Gas plc, Virgin Money Holdings (UK) plc

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We’re in strange investment times now, with some blue-chip shares offering massive dividend yields and plenty of shares looking just too cheap. Today I’m looking at three of the latter, which I think offer serious doubling potential.

Don’t panic

I think panic is the word, at least for Old Mutual (LSE: OML) shareholders of late. The insurer is heavily exposed to South Africa, and faltering economics there and in emerging markets in general has turned many investors away — adding to the general fear of the financial sector to create a double-whammy that has led to a 35% share price fall between August 2015 and 2016’s low point in January.

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Since then we’ve seen a 24% recovery, to 185p, but Old Mutual Shares are still on a forward P/E for 2017 of only 9.5, with a 4.8% dividend yield currently forecast. To me that suggests there could be a 50% upside even on current forecasts, which suggest essentially flat earnings over the next two years.

But I see emerging markets fears as overdone and I suspect forecasts could be unduly pessimistic, so I see a good chance of more than that. We should also see some confidence returning to UK financial shares should we choose to Remain in the EU and stave off a potential devastation of the sector.

A terrific oil play?

It’s not often that we see a small oil company that’s financially sound and has great earnings growth forecasts, but has suffered a share price crash — but that’s what we see at Eland Oil & Gas (LSE: ELA).

Forecasts suggest a massive escalation of earnings in 2017 — and with the shares currently trading at 26.9p after having fallen by 66% in the past 12 months, that would give us a P/E for this year of a modest 5.7, falling to less than 1 in 2017! On the liquidity front, Eland has recently completed a $15m share placing, which should see it in a comfortable position. So why are the shares so cheap?

The big issue is that Eland operates mainly in the Niger delta in Nigeria, a country that is battling Boko Haram militants who are set on trying to destroy the country’s oil and gas infrastructure. But only last week Eland rejected “unsubstantiated press speculation” and confirmed that its operations are unaffected. It’s risky, but barring any catastrophe, Eland could become a nice multi-bagger.

Challenger bank

The big banks are suffering from continuing weak sentiment. But at the same time we see Virgin Money (LSE: VM), which is not saddled with the same legacy problems that still afflict its bigger competitors, on a similar low P/E valuation. Virgin Money shares have slipped by 22% over the past 12 months, to 334p, despite the bank having posted solid results for 2015 and an upbeat update in May which reported record mortgage lending in Q1 this year.

Two years of strong earnings growth forecasts would drop the P/E to only 8.3 by December 2017, while inflation-busting dividend rises would take the yield to 2.4%.

And it really shouldn’t stop there. With Virgin commanding only around 3.5% of the UK’s mortgage market, and being ranked the number one UK mortgage lender in a recent survey, the potential for earnings growth and big dividend increases looks very attractive to me. I reckon Virgin shares deserve to be on a significantly higher rating that this.

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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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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