Do The Risks Outweigh The Rewards For AstraZeneca plc, Ocado Group PLC And Supergroup PLC?

For many investors, AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) may appear to be a hugely risky stock. After all, it’s currently in the midst of a patent cliff that’s seeing multiple key, blockbuster drugs lose their patents. The impact on AstraZeneca’s bottom line has been huge, with the company set to report a fall in earnings of 6% this year and a further 2% next year.

As a result of this, AstraZeneca’s share price could come under pressure in the coming months after its decline of 10% year-to-date. And while there’s no certainty that the company’s bottom line will mount a successful recovery, the potential rewards on offer seem to outweigh the risks.

That’s because AstraZeneca is in the process of rapidly improving its drug pipeline through a major acquisition programme. Although this hasn’t yet fully borne fruit, AstraZeneca has the financial strength to make further deals in order to boost its long-term outlook. And with the company’s shares trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 14.7, they seem to offer good value for money when their growth potential is taken into account.

Online potential

Also offering excellent long-term growth prospects is online grocery company Ocado (LSE: OCDO). It’s benefitting from a gradual change in consumer habits, with more people switching each year to having groceries delivered. And while this market has quickly grown, there’s still a very long way to go. Evidence of this can be seen in Ocado’s bottom line that’s forecast to rise by 25% this year and by a further 44% next year.

The risk to Ocado’s investors is the lack of a margin of safety in the company’s share price. In other words, Ocado’s valuation seems to be up with events in terms of the company’s impressive growth outlook being priced-in. For example, Ocado trades on a price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio of 2, which indicates that it may be wise to await a lower share price before piling-in.

Super player

Meanwhile, Supergroup (LSE: SGP) also has impressive growth prospects, with the high street fashion brand expected to grow its earnings by 16% this year and by a further 12% next year. Under its current management team, Supergroup seems to have become more efficient and better organised, with changes made to its supply chain helping to provide a more stable platform for future growth.

After its shares have fallen by 24% this year, investors may be uncertain about buying Supergroup. Certainly, its valuation could come under further pressure in the short run, but with Supergroup trading on a PEG ratio of 1.2, it seems to offer good growth prospects at a very reasonable price. Therefore, it seems to be worth buying for its long-term potential.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of AstraZeneca. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AstraZeneca and Supergroup. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.