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5 stocks the professionals have identified as the best for 2014 – 2015

Earlier this month, News.com.au asked several professional fund managers and analysts what stocks they thought would be top picks for 2014 – 2015. Amongst their answers, I wanted to highlight five that I thought were standout stocks also.

Taken as a group, they could even be a winning diversified portfolio for this new financial year.

Roger Montgomery, the chief investment officer and founder of The Montgomery Fund, liked SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK) for its Asian growth story. It is expanding into South East Asia through its subsidiaries like JobStreet and JobsDB. In addition, it owns a controlling stake in Zhaopin, China’s biggest job search website. With populations many times larger than Australia’s, the expected growth in job placement services is strong.

The Reject Shop Ltd (ASX: TRS) was tipped by StocksInValue senior equities analyst David Walker as a potential turnaround story. The company has suffered from weaker retail trends, but it is working to reduce stock and has a new distribution centre coming online from July that will help improve inventory turnover.

GBST Holdings Limited (ASX: GBT) was one of the picks from Forager Funds Management chief investment officer Steve Johnson. It develops and provides wealth management and share transaction software for the financial services industry. With the growth in superannuation, its software is in demand. Analyst consensus forecasts project strong growth and the company is expanding its UK business steadily.

Greencross Limited (ASX: GXL), the veterinary service and pet supplies business, caught the attention of Greg Smith, the Fat Prophets head of research, with its remarkable growth. It is expanding across Australia like a chain business, adding established veterinary businesses to its network. Its recent acquisition of Mammoth Pet Holdings, which operates the Petbarn pet supplies chain, gives it good synergies from cross-advertising and supplying complementary services.

Carsales.com Ltd (ASX: CRZ) was suggested by Savanth Sebastian, an economist at CommSec, for its balance sheet strength and solid earnings track record. As the number one car sales website, it wants to cement its market-leader status by offering car related services, like its recent plans to acquire Statton Finance Pty Ltd. This will add finance services for not only cars but boats and other categories that Carsales.com has created extra sales websites for.

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Motley Fool contributor Darryl Daté-Shappard does not own shares in any company mentioned. 

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