National Grid (LSE: NG) may not be the most exciting of shares to own. After all, its business model is fairly unexciting and doesn’t offer the potential for consistently above-average earnings growth in the long run. However, that doesn’t make it a stock to avoid, since National Grid has been a star performer in recent years and could continue to be so in the medium-to-long term.
In fact, National Grid’s share price has beaten the FTSE 100 by 52% in the last five years. Looking ahead, further outperformance is on the cards since the index is experiencing a hugely volatile and uncertain period where stocks such as National Grid could become increasingly popular. That’s because National Grid offers an excellent defensive profile and is likely to be less sensitive to the macroeconomic outlook than most of its index peers.
With National Grid trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 15.7, it’s hardly dirt cheap at the moment. However, there’s still upward rerating potential on offer since a number of the company’s utility peers trade on much higher valuations.
Of course, the outlook for the housing sector is a lot less certain than for utilities. That’s a key reason why the share price of housebuilder Inland Homes (LSE: INL) has fallen by 11% since the turn of the year. And with there being a good chance of an interest rate rise in the next year, the affordability of houses could come under pressure as mortgage costs rise.
Clearly, Inland Homes has a bright long term-future since the demand/supply imbalance in the housing market is likely to last for many years. However, its shares could come under further pressure in the short run – especially if the UK votes to leave the EU. But with the company having a relatively wide margin of safety as evidenced by a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1, now could be a good time to buy for the long term.
Meanwhile, pension administration specialist Curtis Banks (LSE: CBP) has had a superb year, with its share price rising by a whopping 71%. Although some investors may be concerned about the potential for profit-taking after such a stunning rise, Curtis Banks continues to offer strong growth prospects at a very reasonable price.
For example, the company is forecast to increase its bottom line by 38% in the current year and by a further 25% next year. When combined with a P/E ratio of 23.1, this equates to a PEG ratio of just 0.9 and this indicates that there’s capital gain potential over the medium-to-long term. And with dividends expected to rise by almost 42% next year, Curtis Banks seems to have confidence in its long-term future, while a forward yield of 2.3% holds at least some appeal for income-seeking investors.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of National Grid. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.