Advertising spending in the UK may continue to suffer as Brexit-related turbulence persists, but I reckon WPP’s (LSE: WPP) vast international presence should keep on delivering stunning earnings growth.
The ad agency advised last month that revenues exploded 23.4% between July and September, to £3.61bn, with WPP enjoying sales growth at constant currencies across all its regions and business sectors. And the FTSE 100 star churned out net new business worth £3.47bn during the quarter, up from £3.21bn in the corresponding 2015 period.
City brokers expect earnings to rev higher despite troubles in its home marketplace, with a 16% rise currently forecast for 2016, up from 10% last year. And a further 14% advance is pencilled-in for 2017.
This year’s subsequent P/E rating of 15.2 times nudges above the Footsie forward average of 15 times. But WPP’s ratio comes in at a mere 13.5 times for 2017.
And investors should pay particular attention to WPP’s PEG ratios through to the close of next year as an indication of the firm’s stunning value relative to its growth momentum — these ring in at 0.9 for both this year and next, below the benchmark of 1 that’s considered knockout value.
Safe as houses
But WPP isn’t the only London-listed growth giant going for a song. Indeed, housebuilder Crest Nicholson (LSE: CRST) underlined its strong growth credentials with its full-year trading statement released last week.
The Chertsey-based company announced that unit sales cruised 5% higher during the 12 months to October 2016, to 2,870. And forward sales rose 6% to 1,773 homes, soothing fears of a sudden demand drop.
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Crest Nicholson in recent months, however. The builder advised that “sales volumes temporarily reduced alongside an increase in the level of cancellations, as uncertainties raised during the referendum and following the vote to leave, had an impact on purchaser confidence.”
But Crest Nicholson also said “purchaser confidence had largely recovered” by the beginning of August, helping sales rates to average 0.77 units per week during the final quarter, in line with the corresponding period in 2015.
The number crunchers expect its run of double-digit annual earnings rises to grind to a halt however, as difficult economic conditions in the UK weigh on homebuyer demand in the year ahead. A 7% bottom-line decline is currently forecast for fiscal 2017.
Yet I believe this bearish viewpoint could be subject to reassessment, as favourable lending conditions — assisted by low interest rates — and Britain’s enduring housing shortage push property prices. Indeed, a string of upbeat market updates from the likes of Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon in recent weeks suggests that brokers are far too pessimistic.
Current forecasts leave Crest Nicholson dealing on a forward P/E ratio of just eight times. Given the underlying strength of the housing market, and the possibility of earnings upgrades during the next year, I reckon this makes the homemaker a bona fide bargain.
Banish your Brexit fears
Britain's exit from the EU doesn't mean investors should run for the hills. There are still plenty of ways for stock pickers to make a fortune if they play their cards right. Indeed, we believe that the BEST thing to do in the current environment is to KEEP BUYING STOCKS.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. 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.