Barclays (LSE: BARC) has been a surprisingly strong performer in the last three months. Its shares have risen by 21%, and yet they still trade at just 221p. This puts them on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 10.9, which indicates more capital gains may lie ahead.
Of course, Barclays has a strategy which will see it prioritise improving financial strength over dividend payments. This has the potential to create a more sustainable bank which is better capable of overcoming the possible challenges posed by Brexit and the uncertainty of a new US president.
Furthermore, cutting dividends now could lead to them rising more rapidly in the long run once the bank has a more robust balance sheet. In turn, this means Barclays could have a clear catalyst through which to deliver share price gains in the long term.
The UK supermarket industry continues to change rapidly. Tesco’s purchase of Booker shakes the sector up, while the J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY) acquisition of Argos also positions it for long-term growth.
Certainly, the retail sector may endure a tough 2017. Consumer confidence may not be as high as in previous years, but the purchase of Argos shows Sainsbury’s is thinking about the future beyond the next few years. The two companies have obvious cross-selling opportunities, as well as synergies which could allow margin expansion.
Sainsbury’s has a share price of 260p, which could come under a degree of pressure in the short run. However, since it has a P/E ratio of only 12.8 and a sound long-term growth strategy, now could be the right time to buy it.
ITV (LSE: ITV) has seen its share price hurt by the uncertainty around Brexit. It has fallen by 6% since the referendum, to 201p, while the FTSE 100 has risen by 13% during the same time period. This means ITV has a yield of just over 4%, which is around 10% higher than the wider index’s yield. With dividends covered twice by profit, they appear to be highly sustainable.
Looking ahead, its financial performance could be hurt by the impact of Brexit. Business confidence could fall and this may lead to reduced demand for advertising. In fact, the market is forecasting a fall in the company’s earnings of 1% this year, which shows that future difficulties may already be priced-in. Given its income appeal and solid business model, ITV could be a top stock to buy right now.
Growth at a reasonable price
While finding cheap stocks which offer high growth prospects may seem challenging, Old Mutual (LSE: OML) proves such stocks do exist. The diversified financial services business is expected to record a rise in its earnings of 12% in the current year. Its shares are priced at 206p, which puts them on a P/E ratio of 11.3. When combined with the forecast growth rate, this equates to a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.9.
In addition to offering growth at a reasonable price, Old Mutual remains a strong income stock. It yields 3.4%, but since dividends are covered 2.9 times by profit there’s scope for a rapid rise in shareholder payouts over the long term. Therefore, Old Mutual seems to appeal to income, growth and value investors alike.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Barclays, ITV, Old Mutual, Sainsbury (J), and Tesco. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Booker, and ITV. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.