I am convinced that packaging giant DS Smith (LSE: SMDS) is one of the FTSE 250‘s more dependable stocks for those seeking stocky investment returns in the years ahead.
The London firm has thrown the kitchen sink at building its presence across Europe, a move that not only reduces its reliance on the strength of one or two markets but bolsters its relationship with the continent’s largest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers.
And this leaves DS Smith is in great shape to enjoy growing custom as FCMG clients select fewer, but bigger, suppliers for their packaging needs.
A rich history of earnings growth
This growth model allowed chief executive Miles Roberts to reassure the market last month by advising that “the business continues to demonstrate good momentum with growth in line with our expectations, despite the considerable political and economic uncertainty.”
DS Smith has a rich history of earnings growth, and the City expects this to continue with expansion of 13% and 8% in the years to April 2017 and 2018 respectively. This results in an ultra-low P/E ratio of 12.5 times for this year and 11.7 times for 2018.
This solid earnings outlook, allied with the boxbuilder’s ability to throw up shedloads of cash, is expected to keep driving dividends higher, too. Indeed, a dividend of 12.8p per share last year is anticipated to rise to 14.1p this year and to 15p in fiscal 2018. These figures yield 3.7% and 3.9% correspondingly.
Whilst consumer spending patterns could deteriorate in the months ahead as inflation picks up, I believe coffee and cake play Greggs (LSE: GRG) has what it takes to keep the bottom line ticking higher.
Hot drinks and fancy pastries are a mainstay of British life regardless of broader economic pressures. Besides, Greggs has long positioned itself at the cheaper end of the market, protecting itself from the pressures that may affect the likes of Starbucks and Costa Coffee looking ahead.
Investors should also be encouraged by the success of Greggs’ product innovation strategy in driving like-for-like sales of its tasty treats higher.
Underlying sales at the baker rose 2.8% during the 13 weeks to October 1st, the firm’s expanded ‘Balanced Choice’ salad range helping to propel demand for its summer menus. And Greggs has a stream of new sandwiches and healthy treats scheduled for rollout in quarter four and beyond.
While cost pressures are expected to mount looking ahead, the City expects the allure of Greggs’ delicious foodstuffs to offset these problems, turbocharged by the firm’s store refit and expansion programme.
Earnings growth of 7% is forecast for 2017 alone, resulting in a decent P/E ratio of 14.7 times. And Greggs is also a great pick for income chasers, in my opinion, with strong bottom-line growth anticipated to push the dividend from a predicted 30.1p per share in 2016 to 33p next year. This creates a robust 3.6% yield.
I reckon investors should capitalise on recent share price weakness and pile into the tarts titan.A