With the FTSE 100 having endured a highly volatile period of late, it is perhaps understandable that many investors are feeling somewhat cautious. After all, if one thing has been learned from the Greek debt crisis, it is that the future of the Eurozone remains highly precarious and uncertain.
Despite this, the future for the FTSE 100 appears to be rather bright. The credit crunch is history, the UK economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world, and global growth prospects remain very sound. As such, it could be a great time to buy a number of high quality companies.
Take, for example, Imagination Tech (LSE: IMG). Its share price continues to disappoint, with it being down 2% year-to-date and 27% down in the last five years. However, its financial performance over the next couple of years is forecast to improve massively, with profitability set to return this year and 22% growth in profit being pencilled in for next year.
This step-change in performance has the potential to act as a positive catalyst on the company’s share price following three years of disappointing performance, with the last two years’ of losses set to make way for a more prosperous period. And, with Imagination Tech having a price to earnings growth (PEG) of just 1.1, it appears to offer excellent value for money at the present time.
Of course, tech isn’t the only growth sector. Transport is also an appealing growth space at the present time, with Go-Ahead (LSE: GOG) forecast to deliver a bottom line rise of as much as 28% next year. And, unlike Imagination Tech, investor sentiment in Go-Ahead has been strong in recent years, with the company’s share price rising by 135% in the last five years.
Despite this, Go-Ahead trades on a PEG ratio of just 0.5 and, with dividends expected to rise by 17.3% next year, the stock could be yielding as much as 4% next year from a dividend that is covered 1.9 times by profit.
Meanwhile, neither Imagination Tech nor Go-Ahead can boast of the same level of growth as online takeaway company, Just Eat (LSE: JE). It is expected to post growth of 38% this year and 56% next year as its simple, effective and reliable online ordering system continues to prove popular with customers. And, while there is a move towards healthier eating across the globe, takeaways remain popular and, in the long run, have the capacity to adapt to changing consumer tastes. Moreover, with a PEG ratio of just 0.8, Just Eat appears to offer a wide margin of safety in any case.
Clearly, Diageo (LSE: DGE) (NYSE: DEO.US) has disappointed over the last couple of years, with its earnings falling by 12.5% in the last two financial years and its shares being down 4% since July 2013. Furthermore, its share price performance would have been much worse were it not for recent rumours surrounding a possible bid approach.
Still, Diageo remains a company with significant long term growth prospects. Its very wide geographical diversity and range of brands mean that it has most alcoholic beverage bases and growth regions covered. Furthermore, its excellent cash flow and robust balance sheet mean that it could take part in M&A activity itself so as to boost a bottom line that is set to return to growth in the current year, with a rise of 7% having the potential to improve investor sentiment moving forward.
Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of Imagination Technologies. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.