With interest rates being low, the returns on a Cash ISA look set to be disappointing over the coming years. Likewise, high house prices and tax changes mean that buy-to-let investments may fail to offer the high returns that many landlords have become used to over recent years.
As such, investing in a range of FTSE 100 shares could be a shrewd move. In many cases, they offer fair valuations given their growth prospects, and may provide a superior risk/reward opportunity than a Cash ISA or buy-to-let properties.
With that in mind, here are two large-cap shares that could produce impressive returns in the long run.
Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) has reported encouraging results in recent quarters. For example, in its third quarter it delivered sales growth across all of its therapy areas and every sales region in which it operates.
In addition, the company has a strong pipeline of new drugs that could help to maintain its recent strong sales momentum. Higher sales are expected to produce rising profitability for the business over the next couple of years, with its bottom line forecast to rise by 17% this year and by 24% next year.
Although AstraZeneca trades on a relatively high price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 23.8, its forecast growth rate in earnings suggests that it is not overvalued at the present time. In fact, with it having the potential to maintain its current rate of growth, it could be argued that the stock offers good value for money.
Alongside its defensive characteristics and the prospect of a rising dividend, this could mean that the stock produces a high total return over the long run.
Another FTSE 100 share that could deliver an improving financial outlook is WPP (LSE: WPP). The company is in the early stages of implementing a revised strategy that focuses on the technology sector and aims to produce a slimline version of the business through asset disposals and greater selectivity in terms of the markets in which it operates.
As a result of its asset disposals, WPP’s debt levels are expected to fall in the medium term. This could lead to it having a stronger balance sheet that reduces its risks at a time when the near-term prospects for the world economy are uncertain.
The stock currently trades on a P/E ratio of just 11, which is relatively low compared to its sector peers. This suggests that it offers a wide margin of safety, which is understandable due to the strategy changes it is currently making. However, with the business forecast to post a return to profit growth next year through a 7% rise in its bottom line, now could be the right time to buy a slice of it while investors adopt a cautious stance towards its future prospects.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of AstraZeneca and WPP. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AstraZeneca. 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.