2 shares with red-hot growth prospects

Royston Wild runs the rule over two great growth picks.

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Standard Life (LSE: SL) found itself trending fractionally lower in Tuesday business, the firm moving backwards despite the release of rosy first-half trading numbers.

But this scenario is not a surprise given the financial leviathan’s recent share price stampede — Standard Life’s stock value has advanced 16% over the past two months and hit two-year tops just shy of 450p late last week.

The company, which is due to merge with Aberdeen Asset Management imminently, announced today that assets under administration edged 1% higher between January and June to £361.9bn. This was despite the business enduring net outflows totalling £3.7bn in the period.

The asset manager saw fee-based revenues rise 5% in the first half, to £836m. And operating pre-tax profit advanced 6% year-on-year to £362m. “Standard Life has delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2017,” chief executive Keith Skeoch commented.

We continue to see the benefits of targeted investments to further our diversification agenda, the success of our newer investment solutions and the ongoing focus on operational efficiency, he added. “This has allowed us to grow assets, profits, cash flows and returns to shareholders.”

Merger adds extra star power

With the tie-up with Aberdeen Asset Management slated for completion in mid-August, Standard Life declared that “we are ready to accelerate the pace of strategic delivery as we open the next chapter of our transformation to a diversified world-class investment company.” The merger should give the enlarged entity greater scale and better diversification in what is an increasingly-competitive industry.

The City expects Standard Life to report earnings growth of 45% this year and 9% in 2018, resulting in a cheap forward P/E ratio of 14.9 times as well as a bargain PEG reading of 0.3. And the FTSE 100 giant also provides plenty for dividend chasers to shout about, the business sporting monster yields of 4.8% and 5.2% for this year and next.

Diversification pays off

I believe RPS Group (LSE: RPS) is another stock in great shape to deliver phenomenal long-term earnings expansion.

But investors need not wait for the company to deliver stonking growth, with City brokers predicting a 25% bottom-line rise in 2017. And a further 12% swell is anticipated for next year.

RPS Group, like Standard Life, has been no stranger to rampant investor demand in recent sessions either, the stock charging to three-year peaks around 280p late last week. Despite this the firm still deals on a very-reasonable P/E ratio of 15.8 times, while it also sports a mega-low PEG ratio of 0.6.

Investor faith in the Oxfordshire firm was rewarded last week when it spoke of a 35% uptick in pre-tax profit during January-June, at £27.2m. Despite ongoing pressure in the oil and gas industry, RPS Group’s efforts to diverse its operations are paying off handsomely. And I am confident ongoing progress in this area, allied with stringent cost management, should keep sending earnings skywards.

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 Aberdeen Asset Management. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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