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Can May’s climbers keep going? Barratt Developments plc (+11%), Barclays plc (+6%) & Just Eat plc (+19%)

Those who sold in May, as the old saying urges, will have missed a few impressive share price rises. Although the FTSE 100 itself was pretty flat during the month, some of its constituents did well — and could have the potential to keep on going.

Housing still on the up

Share prices in the housebuilding business had been falling back since last summer as fears of a cooling in the market were having their effect, but since a recent low in mid-April we’ve seen a return to an upward trend. Shares in Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV), in fact, gained 11% during May, to end the month on 592p — in the first few days of June we’ve seen a slight drop back from that, to 568p, but we’re still looking at a 13% uptick since that April dip.

Will Barratt Developments shares keep on climbing? Over the long term, yes, I think so. Earnings growth is set to slow and can’t possibly keep up with the immediate post-crash surge, but forecasts still suggest EPS rises of 19% for the year to 30 June, followed by a further 10% over the next 12 months. That puts the shares on forward P/E multiples of only 10.5 and 9.5 respectively, much lower that the long-term FTSE average of around 14 — and that’s with Barratt’s mooted dividend yields of 5% this year and 6% next wiping the floor with the FTSE’s average of around 3%.

Even after a five-year period that has seen Barratt shares more then five-bagging, they still look cheap to me.

Dirt-cheap bank?

My second favourite bank, Barclays (LSE: BARC), saw a 6% share price rise during May to 182p, which is more modest, though it does hide a 15% rise since the shares’ low point on 9 May. As I write, the price stands at 180p, so it’s holding up.

The thing is, over the past 12 months, Barclays shares have fallen by 32%, and I think that’s given us the best buying opportunity for some time. New boss Jes Staley made some tough decisions, like slashing the dividend this year, and that’s brought some short-term pain in the form of that share price fall. But his steps look to be the right ones, and likely to set Barclays up to out-perform in the longer term.

Though the expected dividend yield stands at a lowly 1.7% and EPS is predicted to fall 18% this year, a return to 57% earnings growth forecast for next year would drop the P/E as low as 8.4 — and just think of the effective future yields you could get from that when Barclays gets back to its planned progressive dividend policy!

Takeaway profits

The online takeaway company Just Eat (LSE: JE) has been a bit of a growth star since its flotation in April 2014, with the shares already having put on 55% to reach 436p — and that includes a 19% rise in May.

The reason for Just Eat’s success so far is easy to understand — acting as an intermediary and providing a delivery service for a multitude of takeaway food shops is simply a very good idea, and the company has established a strong brand presence in a relatively short period. And unlike some popular growth companies, Just Eat is profitable now — EPS is predicted to grow by nearly 60% this year and by nearly 50% next.

That would give us a P/E of 29 for 2017, which perhaps looks a bit much — but a PEG ratio of around 0.6 to 0.7 suggests that could still be a fair valuation for the company’s growth prospects. Rapid expansion over the next few years could mean this is just the start, and I reckon Just Eat shares could do well over the next five years.

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