As three heavyweights in their respective industries, many investors will be running the ruler over the companies’ prospects to decide whether now is — or isn’t — a good time to buy in.
Medibank shares were among the market’s biggest losers earlier in the week when speculation began swirling that it was the subject of an investigation by the competition watchdog.
Nevertheless, since listing on the ASX in 2014, the company has moved from strength to strength as cost-cutting initiatives took effect and private health insurance prices grew. With shares currently changing hands for 21x next year’s earnings per share, Medibank shares do not appear a standout buy, in my opinion. However, with a modest dividend and the ever-increasing costs of private health insurance, Medibank is one to watch closely over the long-term.
Westpac is Australia’s second-largest bank, with a market capitalisation of $95 billion. As a result, it holds significant stakes in the property, credit card and deposit markets.
At the shareholder level, Westpac has delivered strong returns over the past two decades (after almost going bust in the early 90’s) in the form of both dividends and capital gains.
Despite the regulatory risk and the threat of slowing property prices, analysts remain reasonably bullish on Westpac shares. At today’s prices, shares trade on a trailing dividend yield of 6.4%.
Qantas Airways shares soared over the past two years as oil prices (a major expense) plummeted, and competition remained relatively in check. Unfortunately, such positive industry tailwinds don’t last forever. Therefore, I think Qantas shares may already have reached their peak and could be due for further falls.
At today’s prices, I think Medibank appears a decent long-term prospect, but its shares are a little expensive. I’m waiting for a more compelling entry point. Moreover, Westpac shares offer a good dividend, but its shares are too pricey for me to buy in today. Finally, Qantas is a decent business, but it operates in a very tough industry. Therefore, I would not be comfortable holding shares at today’s prices.
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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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