Your instant 8 share portfolio for a prosperous 2016

Credit: Dr. Wendy Longo

With 2016 quickly approaching, I think now is a great time for individuals to begin taking control of their financial future. I know it will be one of my New Year’s resolutions!

Investing in shares is a great way to do this and new investors should consider building a share portfolio that is well diversified and spread amongst a number of sectors. Similarly, seasoned investors can also take this opportunity to re-balance their existing portfolios and consider where the best growth opportunities exist.

Here are eight stocks that have the potential to generate great returns for new and old investors alike, and at the very least, deserve a spot on the watch list of every investor:

Westfield Corp Ltd (ASX: WFD) – Westfield operates its shopping centres exclusively overseas which means Australian investors will benefit from a potentially lower Australian dollar. The company provides a defensive source of income but still has the opportunity to deliver growth via a pipeline of new developments worth US$11.4 billion.

Retail Food Group Limited (ASX: RFG) – Retail Food Group owns some of Australia’s most popular food brands including Donut King, Gloria Jean’s and Crust Pizza. The share price has struggled in 2015 but could make a recovery if the company meets its earnings guidance of 25% growth in FY16. Investors will also benefit from a 5.4% fully franked dividend.

QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) – Although earnings forecasts for insurers can be notoriously difficult to meet as a number of factors remain outside of their control, QBE is well on track to deliver significantly improved earnings from 2016 and beyond. Many of its poorly performing units have been restructured and the company’s balance sheet is the strongest it has been in years which should allow the dividend to be progressively increased.

ResMed Inc. (CHESS) (ASX: RMD) – A significant growth opportunity exists for ResMed as there remains a large number of untreated and undiagnosed patients that could benefit from its treatments and devices. The shares appears attractively priced after a recent pull-back and the company will benefit from a lower Australian dollar moving forward.

Magellan Financial Group Ltd (ASX: MFG) – As a leading international investment manager, Magellan has delivered superb long term returns for shareholders. The company is expected to deliver another strong year of earnings growth as funds under management continue their upward trend. With more Australian investors looking for overseas exposure, Magellan’s strong reputation means it is well placed to benefit from this trend.

G8 Education Ltd (ASX: GEM) – G8 is a leading provider of childcare services in a sector that is expected to grow strongly over the next decade. Although its business model has been questioned recently, the company has delivered excellent earnings growth over recent years. Income-hungry investors will benefit from a 7% fully franked dividend yield.

Lifehealthcare Group Ltd (ASX: LHC) – Lifehealthcare is a small healthcare company that imports and distributes high-end medical devices and implants to surgeons around Australia and New Zealand. The company has a strong track record of increasing revenue and has increased the number of active surgeons using its devices by more than 80% over the past six years. Lifehealthcare has a number of new products that are soon to be released and investors can expect to receive a dividend yield of close to 6%.

Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) – Flight Centre is a well managed business with a very strong balance sheet. It continues to expand its global network and is broadening its online presence through strategic acquisitions. Investors will receive a 4% fully franked dividend and it looks like a good long-term investment at current prices.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares in Retail Food Group, G8 Education and Lifehealthcare Group. 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 owns shares of Retail Food Group Limited. 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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