Beat the share market blues with Transurban Group shares

With the ASX trading in bear market territory – down around 20% from its highs – investors may want to consider shares in Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) to boost the defensive positioning of their portfolio.

It’s certainly been an unpleasant start to calendar year 2016 with the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) losing 6.6% so far in January.

While investors want to be careful not to put too much emphasis on short term market gyrations, it could be worth considering whether your portfolio is built on a solid foundation and not stacked with shares in companies you have little faith in.

When it comes to picking stocks to make up the foundations of a portfolio, in the past many investors have relied upon the so-called “blue chips”. As we’ve seen over the past 12 months however, the likes of Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) have been anything but “safe” holdings.

Add to this a gloomy outlook for the energy sector which is experiencing decade low oil prices and a slower-than-expected economic growth rate from our major trading partner China and there appears to be very few data points to get excited about.

A stock picker’s market

Despite the muted outlook, without a doubt, there are definitely great investment opportunities out there if you know where to look. Consider the following stock…

Leading toll road operator Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) isn’t being unduly affected by the global economic climate. According to analyst consensus forecasts provided by Morningstar, the group is set to report a near doubling in earnings per share from financial year (FY) 2016 through to FY 2018.

What’s more, the forecast dividend to be paid in FY 2018 is 52.5 cents per share.

These forecasts imply that the infrastructure owner and operator is trading on an FY 2018 price-to-earnings ratio and partially franked dividend yield of 18.6x and 4.8% respectively.

Given Transurban’s defensive asset base (which is diversified by geography) generates strong cash flows and boasts an impressive growth profile, the pricing of this stock seems reasonable and indeed appealing when compared to average market multiples.

Could this bear market turn into another GFC?

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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