Are Unilever plc, National Grid plc & Dignity Plc 3 Of The Safest Growth Picks Out There?

Today I am looking at three FTSE-quoted stocks with terrific growth potential.

A household favourite

Despite heavy fears over the impact of macroeconomic cooling on global stock indices, I believe the terrific pricing power of Unilever’s (LSE: ULVR) product stable makes it a great selection for dependable earnings growth.

The household goods giant shrugged off fears over reduced consumer spending power in developing regions by posting an 8.4% sales improvement between July and September, speeding up from 6.5% in the prior quarter as both volumes and pricing in emerging markets galloped northwards.

Unilever boasts a wide array of exceptional products that can be found across the households, labels like Dove soap and Walls ice cream that resonate well with consumers across the globe. As a result the business can afford to lift prices even in times of wider economic turbulence, a critical quality for steady earnings growth.

The City expects Unilever to follow an anticipated 9% earnings rise in 2015 with a 6% advance this year, leaving the stock dealing on a slightly-elevated P/E rating of 20.1 times. But with Unilever investing heavily in innovation across its top labels, and the company steadily rolling lines out in new markets, I reckon the firm’s hot growth profile fully warrants a premium rating.

Funeral demand heading higher

Mark Twain’s legendary assertion that “the only two certainties in life are death and taxes” should make funeral directors Dignity (LSE: DTY) a must-have selection for those seeking dependable earnings expansion, in my opinion.

The company increased its 2015 forecasts back in November after yet another robust trading update, a 9% rise in underlying deaths between July and September driving revenues for the first nine months of the year 15.6% higher to £227m.

With Dignity steadily increasing its funeral home estate — the company acquired a further 12 locations in the third quarter, taking total outlay in 2015 to £49.2m — and the business expecting to open a new crematorium in Derby in 2017, I believe the company should continue to enjoy solid earnings expansion in the medium-term and beyond.

The number crunchers expect Dignity to follow earnings expansion of 23% in 2015 with a 6% rise in 2016, creating a conventionally-high P/E multiple of 21.4 times. And I believe the indispensable nature of Dignity’s operations, allied with its ambitious growth plans, should continue sending the bottom-line higher.

An electrifying stock selection

Like Dignity, power play National Grid’s (LSE: NG) operations in an essential market — in this case that of electricity provision — makes it a solid pick for robust earnings growth, in my opinion.

Unlike fellow utilities operators like Centrica and Thames Water, National Grid does not face the same degree of regulatory scrutiny over its profit levels. Indeed, Ofgem’s RIIO price controls have actually boosted National Grid’s bottom-line prospects by reducing the amount of cash seeping out of the door.

The Square Mile expects National Grid to record earnings growth of 4% in the year to March 2016, resulting in a very-attractive P/E rating of 14.9 times. And this reading moves to 14.7 times for 2017 thanks to predictions of a further 1% earnings rise.

With the company committed to building its UK and US asset bases by around 6% per year, I believe National Grid should remain a lucrative stock pick for some years to come.

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Royston Wild owns shares of Unilever. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended 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.