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3 blue-chip stocks set to outperform the market

The S&P/ASX 200’s (ASX: XJO) (^AXJO) strong rise in 2013 has made it difficult for investors to find quality blue-chip stocks trading at cheap prices. The usual suspects like Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) and resources giant Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) have continued to demand lofty share prices due to their reliable dividends and ongoing growth profile.

However, if investors search long enough, there are bargains to be had. Here are three which many long-term investors may not already own, but could consider adding to their portfolios.

1. Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD) is the owner and operator of a huge portfolio of local and international entertainment and leisure businesses. Some of its brands include Goodlife Health Clubs, Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, AMF and Kingpin Bowling, SkyPoint and Main Event Entertainment in the US. In its recent quarterly report group revenue jumped 12.7%, whilst the Health Club division continued its impressive reporting with a 16.7% earnings increase and, over in the US, Main Event grew profits by 26.2%. Currently Ardent trades on 17 times FY14 forecast earnings-per-share and yields a 5.1% dividend.

2. Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) is Australia’s largest gold miner. Since its shares tanked in 2013, following the worst gold price drop in 30 years, management has slashed costs and continued to grow production. In the March quarter, its all-in sustaining cost was $988 per ounce. For the full-year management reiterated its target production of 2.3 million ounces (FY13: 2.1 million ounces). With a huge amount of reserves, high grades and top quality projects throughout Asia, Newcrest is a first class gold miner.

3. Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) is Australia’s premier investment bank. On May 2, the bank reported a net profit of $1.265 billion, up 49% on the previous year. International income accounted for 68% of total income. The group’s funds management business performed exceptionally well, increasing assets under management (AUM) by 24% on the prior year and notching up 39% earnings growth. In addition the group maintains a stronger APRA Basel III common equity tier 1 ratio than the big banks and a majority of its international peers. In FY15 it is forecast to pay a 5% dividend yield with partial franking.

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Forget Macquarie group and Ardent Leisure, top Motley Fool analysts just identified their #1 ASX pick for 2014, a small-cap stock that could be poised for big gains (and offers a fat, fully franked dividend!). Discover all the details now, including the name and code, in this FREE investment report, "The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2014."

Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any of the mentioned companies. 

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