Upbeat results from AMP Limited (ASX: AMP) saw the company’s share price firm up last week, as investors looked ahead to what could be a prosperous period for the diversified financial services business.
In fact, AMP managed to increase underlying profit by 23% versus the comparable period last year, which is an impressive result. And, with interest rates heading south, AMP could gain a boost from an even more favourable operating environment over the medium to long term.
Certainly, its shares appear to be rather richly valued, with them having a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of 21.7, for example. But, with a bottom line that is performing well and a relatively efficient business that could continue to deliver strong growth, AMP could prove to be a sound long term financial play.
In its recent results, Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) made it very clear that it was comfortable in sacrificing short term profitability in return for long term progress. This, of course, is in response to the price war that is hotting up in the Aussie retail sector, with the likes of Aldi and Costco attempting to steal market share from more well-established peers such as Wesfarmers.
This strategy seems sensible and, with the outlook for the Aussie economy still being rather challenging even with an interest rate cut, Wesfarmers could prove to be a sound long-term play.
Certainly, its short-term growth forecasts of 13.9% per annum over the next two years may come under pressure. But, with a very efficient business model, a slick supply chain and a price to sales (P/S) ratio of just 0.89, Wesfarmers could be a stunning long-term buy.
Ramsay Health Care Limited
Holding shares in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) in recent years has been supremely profitable. For example, in the last five years the largest private hospital operator in Australia has posted total shareholder returns of 41.6% per annum, which is an incredibly strong result.
Looking ahead, there could be much more to come, since Ramsay seems to have a very strategy that should provide it with an excellent long-term growth profile. For example, Ramsay is focused on regional diversification, thereby lessening its reliance on the Australian market, and so its moves into Europe and Asia seem to make a great deal of sense.
It also has strong growth prospects due to the ageing global population, thereby providing a double benefit that should allow Ramsay to post exceptional share price performance in the long run.
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Motley Fool contributor Peter Stephens does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.
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