3 growth stocks I’d buy in March

As investment in Britain’s road network clicks through the gears, I reckon Hill & Smith (LSE: HILS) should keep delivering robust earnings growth long into the future.

The business — which makes a wide range of road furniture, from barriers and bridges to road signage — announced in November that that “trading… has continued to be encouraging,” and that “trading performance for the current financial year [should] be at the top end of market expectations.”

And I believe a similarly-upbeat full-year statement (slated for Wednesday, March 8) could see the engineer’s stock price shoot to fresh record tops.

Hill & Smith is steadily building its safety barrier rental fleet in anticipation of shooting demand as the government’s Road Investment Strategy rolls on. But the UK is not the only story, the company also enjoying improving demand from overseas and particularly the US.

The City expects earnings at Hill & Smith’s to rise 8% in 2017 and by a further 3% in 2018, projections that produce P/E ratings of 17.2 times and 16.3 times correspondingly. I reckon this is stellar value given the firm’s excellent sales momentum.

Brand brilliance

Whilst revenues growth has moderated more recently, I am convinced that Unilever (LSE: ULVR) also remains a top-quality growth pick for patient investors.

The business has not been totally immune to broader economic pressures in recent times, with trouble in key marketplaces Brazil and India in particular causing sales to weaken. Still, the Marmite maker’s reputation as a reliable growth stock was verified as earnings still kept rising last year.

Unilever is throwing huge sums at developing its suite of highly-desirable labels to keep revenues moving higher, measures that enabled underlying revenues to still rise 3.7% in 2016. And the business is also stepping up cost reduction efforts to mitigate the current sales slowdown.

And while Unilever may be suffering a headache in some of its far-flung regions, I am convinced rising personal wealth levels in emerging regions should provide lucrative returns in the years ahead. Indeed, like-for-like sales in these areas jumped 6.5% last year alone.

I believe Unilever remains a top growth pick despite slightly-heady P/E ratios of 19.1 times and 17.7 times for 2017 and 2018.

A hot pick

I am also convinced Just Eat (LSE: JE) has what it takes to keep delivering chunky earnings growth in the years ahead, even if sales have cooled off a little more recently.

The takeaway giant saw like-for-like orders rise just 36% in 2016, down from 46% the year before and 50% in 2015. But Just Eat is throwing around the cash to boost its position in the fast-growing ‘eat at home’ market, not just in the UK but across the globe. And I expect this to keep sales sizzling in the years ahead.

The City shares my optimistic take, and has chalked in earnings expansion of 45% and 39% for 2017 and 2018 respectively. And I reckon the possibility of double-digit earnings growth stretching long into the future makes Just Eat a great growth pick despite high P/E ratios of 31.6 times and 22.9 times for this year and next.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Just Eat. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.