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2 growth stocks I’d stash in my ISA today

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With the 2017/18 ISA deadline just a matter of weeks away, I am looking at two last-minute growth giants investors should consider stashing in their stocks portfolio.

Working hard

PageGroup (LSE: PAGE) hasn’t had the best of it in Wednesday trading after the release of full-year numbers caused investors to hit the sell button with some gusto.

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The recruitment giant was last 6% lower on the day and toiling below 500p again, erasing much of the progress made following its trading update at the turn of the year. This represents a terrific buying opportunity, in my opinion.

PageGroup has slumped after warning that difficult conditions in the UK look set to persist. Gross profits here were 3.8% lower during 2017, and the FTSE 250 company commented: “We remain cautious in several markets as we progress through the year: primarily in the UK, where we will focus on protecting margins.”

Two things to remember, however. PageGroup sources just 20% of gross profits from its home territory. And in my opinion the brilliant progress the business is making in foreign territories provides plenty of fuel for optimism.

In its core Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division — a unit responsible for close to half of total profits — gross profits exploded 22.2% last year. Meanwhile, in The Americas and Asia Pacific they jumped 21.9% and 14.6% respectively in 2017.

The strength of these overseas territories powered group gross profits 14.6% higher last year to £711.6m. And PageGroup’s global investment plan reinforces my belief that business overseas should continue to boom. Its headcount swelled by 930 last year to take the total to a record 7,029.

City analysts share my optimistic take and are thus expecting the recruiter to keep its long history of earnings creation rolling. An 11% rise is forecast for 2018, and an extra 9% increase is predicted for next year.

Today’s share price reversal leaves it dealing on a forward P/E multiple of 16.5 times. This is very reasonable given its rising might across the globe.

Stick around

I also reckon Scapa Group (LSE: SCPA) is worthy of a place in your shares portfolio today.

Like PageGroup, the business — which makes adhesive-based products for the healthcare and industrial sectors — has a proud record of annual earnings generation. And it is expected to keep the run going with advances of 16% and 11% in the years to March 2018 and 2019 respectively, or so say City brokers.

Scapa might be pricey, the firm rocking up on a forward earnings multiple of 27.3 times. This premium rating is no surprise to me, however, given progress of the company’s profit-boosting self-help scheme.

At Healthcare, margins jumped 190 basis points in April-September, to 16.1%, and at Industrial, they jumped 220 basis points to 11.5%, and they were essential in increasing group trading profit 31.5% higher in the period to £16.7m. And the tape manufacturer has plenty more margin-boosting measures ready to be unleashed.

On top of this, Scapa’s Healthcare unit, a dependable revenues builder given the defensive nature of the market, has a raft of products slated for the next 12 months to give the top line a welcome jolt.

With its robust balance sheet also giving plenty of scope for M&A, I reckon the growth outlook for the near term and beyond is pretty compelling.

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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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