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Terrific Growth Picks For Tough Times: Barclays PLC, Homeserve plc & Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc

Today I’m detailing the hot growth prospects of three FTSE stars.

International markets drive earnings

Although conditions in its home markets remain challenging, I believe the breakneck progress of Homeserve’s (LSE: HSV) international push should undergird solid earnings growth in the near term and beyond.

The emergency plumbing and electricity services provider is now the number one operator in the US, the company having seen its customer base explode 24% year-on-year between July and September. And the huge size of this market leaves Homeserve with plenty of upside to generate further gains.

And the Walsall business is also investing heavily in marketing and acquisitions to support profits expansion both at home and abroad.

The City expects Homeserve to enjoy a 9% earnings advance in the 12 months to March 2016, and a 12% rise is forecast for the following period.

Subsequent P/E ratings of 20.2 times and 17.8 times may stick above the benchmark of 15 times that indicates conventionally-attractive value, but I believe Homeserve’s terrific international opportunities fully merit such a premium.

A healthy stock star

Medicines demand remains one of life’s constants, regardless of the wider economic climate. This makes the likes of Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LSE: HIK) a solid growth pick regardless of potential hiccups in the global economy’s progress.

Indeed, a backdrop of galloping healthcare investment all over the world looks likely to keep sales of Hikma’s products moving steadily higher in the years ahead, in my opinion.

And the company remains busy on the acquisition front to bolster its already-bubbly product pipeline, not to mention its position in key markets. Hikma shelled out $2.65bn last year for Roxane Laboratories, a move that makes it the sixth biggest generics producer in the US.

The number crunchers expect the Jordan-based business to bounce back from a 23% earnings slide in 2015 with a 16% uptick in 2016, resulting in a P/E multiple of 23.3 times. With Hikma making huge strides across the globe, and particularly in the hot emerging markets of the Middle East and North Africa, I reckon the drugs giant is worthy of such heady readings.

Withdraw a small fortune

Despite expectations of further cooling in the British economy, I believe banking giant Barclays’ (LSE: BARC) remains a terrific growth selection.

Adding to fears of potential pressure on the firm’s High Street operations, the latest updates from Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland this week again highlighted the huge financial fallout heaped on Britain’s banks by the PPI mis-selling scandal of previous years.

Still, Barclays et al should take confidence from the FCA’s plans to put a lid on claims not put-in before 2018. And the company’s Transform streamlining package looks set to drive costs steadily lower in the coming years.

On top of this, the steady rise of the firm’s Barclaycard division — combined with the potential of its pan-African operations — should also win over investors concerned over possible near-term pressures on its Retail Banking arm.

The City expects Barclays to follow a predicted 24% earnings rise in 2015 with a 21% advance in 2016, leaving the company dealing on an ultra-cheap P/E rating of 8.6 times. I believe the banking goliath merits serious investor attention at these prices.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, and Homeserve. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.