My World Cup Winners: Vodafone Group plc, Lloyds Banking Group PLC, BP plc, National Grid plc And JD Sports Fashion PLC


With the company’s focus turning to Europe from the US following the sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless, Vodafone (LSE: VOD) is banking on its strategy of buying undervalued and distressed assets across Europe being successful. So, investors in the company should be encouraged by continued strength in the Eurozone, with recent figures showing an increase in employment levels across the single-currency zone. With shares in Vodafone offering a yield of 5.8%, they could be marked up by yield-hunting investors.


Although shares in Lloyds (LSE: LLOY) have risen by 25% over the last year, the UK-focused bank still appears to offer investors good value for money at current price levels. That’s because Lloyds currently trades on a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of just 10.5, which is considerably below that of the FTSE 100, which has a P/E of 14.2. Furthermore, Lloyds is targeting a dividend payout ratio of two-thirds by 2016, which means that shares in the bank could become a very attractive income play over the medium term.


Despite having had a strong first six months of 2014, BP (LSE: BP) still trades on a relatively low P/E ratio of 10.6. However, this could continue its rise and narrow the gap to the wider index should unrest in the Middle East continue and push the oil price to higher highs. In addition, BP offers a strong yield of 4.6% and is beginning to turn itself around following a number of challenging years after the Deepwater Horizon tragedy of 2010.

National Grid

With inflation falling to 1.5% in May, it looks unlikely that the Bank of England will seek to increase interest rates at a particularly brisk pace. That’s why stocks such as National Grid (LSE: NG) could prove to be winners, as its aim to increase dividends per share by at least as much as inflation continues to help investors to earn a real yield. Indeed, with shares in National Grid currently yielding 5.1%, investors may push shares higher as they seek-out such a deal.

JD Sports Fashion

This week’s update showed that JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD) is benefiting from increased spending during the World Cup. Indeed, profits in the sportswear part of the business increased by 20% in its most recent update, although the company needs to do more with regard to its fashion business, where losses increased. That said, JD Sports remains highly profitable and trades on a P/E of just 13.1, which is well-below the FTSE 250’s P/E (to which JD Sports Fashion belongs) of 19.2.

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Peter owns shares in BP, Lloyds and National Grid.