Ansell Limited & Medibank Private Ltd: 2 shares that could fly higher

Credit: Phalinn Ooi

Although we have just had a great week or two on the the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO), its performance in the last 30 days has actually been flat.

This wasn’t the case for a couple of shares in particular which defied the market and gained over 10% during the period. This was great news for shareholders of these companies, who will now wonder if the great run can continue.

Ansell Limited (ASX: ANN)

Ansell had a tough start to the year following disappointing interim results and a downgrade to its full year outlook.

Until recently its share price was down a massive 19% year-to-date. But it has come back like a phoenix from the flames in the last 30 days to limit its decline to around 9% for the year.

This means the shares are now changing hands at just over 14x estimated FY 2016 earnings, which makes them about fair value in my view.

I still believe its defensive characteristics make it a good addition to a portfolio today. Its products require regular replenishment and should command a steady demand even in a recession.

Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL)

In the last 30 days Medibank Private shares have continued their excellent run by putting on a further 12% gain for investors. This bring its year-to-date return to a whopping 42%.

The cost of health insurance has risen by around 5.5% per annum for the past five years. It is safe to presume that this will continue to be the case in the next few years also.

This has of course been a big benefit to Medibank Private, but there are fears that consumers will cancel their policies in droves.

Time will tell whether the company can retain enough customers to profit from the price rises, but clearly the market is very optimistic. Last week the share price hit a new all-time high, but I’m not sure it will make a new high any time soon.

At 21x estimated FY 2016 earnings, both Medibank Private and rival NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NHF) look a little on the expensive side to me. I believe QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) would be a better option for those looking at exposure to the insurance industry. I would class its shares as being cheap now and they could provide better share price gains in the near future.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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