With the Greek debt talks still apparently ongoing, we are no clearer on whether or not Greece will exit the Euro. As such, investors remain rather unsure about whether to buy, sell or hold at the present time, which is understandable given the uncertainty that is prevalent at the current time.
However, whether or not Greece exits the Euro, there are a number of stocks which, in the long run, offer significant appeal from a total return perspective. For example, IAG (LSE: IAG), owner of British Airways, is set to benefit from a lower oil price that may remain on offer for a number of years, according to oil industry experts.
As such, IAG’s bottom line should deliver a period of rapid growth, with earnings on a pretax basis forecast to rise from €828m last year to €2.4bn next year, which is a rise of almost three times. This could act as a catalyst on the company’s share price and, although it has already risen by 36% in the last year, there could be further gains to come.
Likewise, estate agency, Savills (LSE: SVS), continues to benefit from ideal operating conditions. Low interest rates, a weak sterling (which attracts foreign buyers to the UK) and the potential for a renewed flight to safety that saw investors pile into London property during the credit crunch, are combining to provide a stimulus to the company’s bottom line. In fact, in each of the last three years, Savills has posted double-digit earnings growth and, despite this, it trades on a very appealing price to earnings (P/E) ratio of just 16.3.
Meanwhile, more defensive stocks such as Centrica (LSE: CNA) (NASDAQOTH: CPYYY.US) and funeral company, Dignity (LSE: DTY), also hold tremendous appeal. In the case of Centrica, it has a more certain operating environment to look forward to, with the potential for a new regulator and a domestic energy price freeze having been dashed by a Tory win at the election.
Furthermore, Centrica and Dignity both offer a degree of stability and, as with London property, could become a flight to safety for anxious investors if Greece does exit the Euro. In Dignity’s case it has grown its earnings in each of the last five years, averaging 16% per annum. Meanwhile, Centrica yields 4.6% and provides a relatively clear earnings profile over the medium term.
Similarly, if Greece doesn’t exit the Euro, then Centrica’s P/E ratio of 14.6 has scope for a significant upward rerating and, in Dignity’s case, its price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 1.7 indicates great value – especially when its highly consistent earnings track record is taken into account. And, with demand for funeral care and domestic energy unlikely to change significantly whether Greek stays in or leaves the Euro, both Centrica and Dignity seem to offer a degree of consistency and certainty during a highly volatile period.
So, while the Greek debt crisis is undoubtedly a concern for investors, the likes of IAG, Savills, Centrica and Dignity appear to be worth buying now for the long term.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Centrica. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Centrica. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.