Today I am highlighting three stock market stars poised to enjoy robust earnings growth this year and beyond.
Global banking behemoth Banco Santander (LSE: BNC) (NYSE: SAN.US) is expected to deliver stunning double-digit growth thanks largely to a strident UK economic recovery, a territory responsible for a fifth of total profits, as well as improving financial conditions in its home market of Spain.
City analysts expect the business to follow eye-popping earnings growth of 19% this year, to 58.9 euro cents per share, with a further 13% advance in 2016 to 66.4 cents. Consequently, Santander’s ultra-low P/E multiple of 11.7 times for 2015 moves to an even more impressive 10.4 times for next year — any reading around or below 10 times is usually considered a steal.
And in my opinion, Santander’s rising exposure to lucrative Latin American markets — the company sources 40% of profit from this region alone — bodes well for long-term growth as population levels and disposable incomes rise. Meanwhile, ongoing restructuring across the bank should also leave the bottom line in good stead for coming years.
Household goods giant Unilever (LSE: ULVR) (NYSE: UL.US) has seen demand erode over the past year as macroeconomic pressures on consumers’ wallets has weighed. Indeed, the business saw sales from developing regions, responsible for almost 60% of group revenues, rise just 6.2% in January-September, down from 8.8% in the same 2013 period.
Still, the City’s number crunchers expect Unilever to bounce back from a rare earnings dip in 2014 with a solid 7% uptick in 2015, to 174.4 euro cents per share. And an additional 8% improvement is anticipated for 2016, to 188.2 cents.
It could be argued that Unilever remains an expensive stock selection, however, with an earnings multiple of 19.2 times for 2015 remaining elevated at 18.1 times for 2016.
But in my opinion Unilever fully deserves this premium rating, as the formidable pricing power of its blue-ribbon labels — from Dove beauty products through to Domestos cleaning brands — should deliver an excellent sales uptick once current cyclical problems abate. Meanwhile a steady stream of divestments, particularly across its Foods division, should reduce its exposure to underperforming markets and boost profits further.
Arms builder BAE Systems (LSE: BA) has seen earnings fluctuate wildly in recent years, as a backcloth of budgetary pressures across key established customers has led to lumpy contract timings and reduced sales. But with economic conditions in the US and UK improving, and revenues from non-Western nations like Saudi Arabia and India taking off, the future looks bright for the defence giant.
Indeed, BAE Systems is anticipated to punch growth of 6% this year, to 38.9p per share, and an extra 5% rise is pencilled in for 2016 to 40.8p. According the company deals on P/E multiples of just 11.7 times and 11.2 times for 2015 and 2016 correspondingly.
The global political and military landscape is arguably more precarious situation than it has been for decades, with ISIS remaining a formidable threat in the Middle East; Russian incursions in Ukraine sparking fears of a new ‘Cold War’; and North Korea and China flexing their muscles in Asia. Against this backcloth, demand for BAE Systems’ industry-leading weapons systems is likely to remain robust for some time to come.
Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of Unilever. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.