While 2014 has undoubtedly been a year of disappointment for most Aussie investors, with the ASX being flat for the year, history tells us that, over a long period, shares are worth holding on to.
Indeed, it’s at times like these that buying opportunities are most prevalent – even if it doesn’t necessarily feel that way at the moment, with the outlook still being highly uncertain.
However, the valuations of numerous blue-chips are very enticing right now and here are three stocks that could deliver exceptional performance in 2015 and beyond.
Pharmaceutical stocks have been seen as excellent defensive plays in the past and, as the share price performance of CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) has shown in 2014, that’s most certainly still the case. Its share price has risen by 15% since the start of the year and seems to have benefitted from increased uncertainty and volatility in the wider market, with investors apparently flocking to more stable, less cyclical stocks such as those in the health care sector.
Of course, CSL offers more than just defensive qualities, with its bottom line forecast to rise at an annualised rate of almost 16% over the next two years. Certainly, share price gains of 152% in the last five years have caused the company’s P/E ratio to expand to exceptionally high levels (it currently stands at 25.4), but with such consistent growth, CSL could be worth an even higher price than that at which it is trading. Clearly, this bodes well for investors in 2015.
Westpac Banking Corp
While CSL is able to offer investors an impressive forecast growth rate over the next two years, Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) lacks appeal in this area. Certainly, it has a great track record of bottom line growth, with earnings at the bank growing at an annualised rate of 6.2% over the last ten years. However, with suitable acquisitions seemingly more difficult to come by (and more challenging to execute due to tighter regulations), Westpac is expected to increase its bottom line by a rather lowly 3.4% per annum over the next two years.
Westpac still has potential for an upward revision to its rating, since its shares trade at a discount to the wider index (13.2 versus 15.3), while a fat, fully franked yield of 5.7% should keep interest from income investors relatively high. As such, Westpac could see its share price move higher in 2015.
Caltex Australia Limited
The next two years are set to see earnings grow at a stunning pace for Caltex Australia Limited (ASX: CTX), with the refiner and fuel distributor forecast to deliver annualised growth in its bottom line of 35.7% over the period.
Certainly, shares in Caltex may not appear cheap at first glance, with their P/E ratio being 56% higher than that of the ASX at 23.8 versus 15.3. However, when the P/E ratio is combined with such strong forecasts, it equates to a far more appealing PEG ratio of 0.67. This highlights that growth could be on offer at a very reasonable price and that, looking ahead, shares in Caltex could continue their superb performance of 2014 that has seen them rise by a whopping 54%.
Furthermore, with dividends per share forecast to grow by 58% per annum over the next two years, Caltex could be yielding as much as 2.7% in FY 2015, thereby making it a stock with income potential, as well as excellent growth prospects.