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2 ASX shares rated as strong buys by brokers for March

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We’re about to enter the final month of the first quarter of 2021. There are some ASX shares that a number of brokers like.

It can be worth paying attention to what brokers think because they’re constantly looking at all the stocks on the share market to decide if they can find opportunities.

Sometimes one broker might think that BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) is a buy whilst another might believe that it’s a sell.

If several brokers think that an ASX share is a buy then it could be worth thinking about:

Baby Bunting Group Ltd (ASX: BBN)

Baby Bunting is an ASX retail share that sells a wide variety of baby and infant products. It’s currently liked by at least five brokers.

One of the brokers that likes Baby Bunting is Ord Minnett, which was impressed with the retailer’s FY21 half year result – it was stronger than the broker was projecting.

The next few months of earnings are likely to be good, but with a slower growth rate compared to the prior corresponding period.

Ord Minnett is excited by the ASX share’s organic sales growth and growing online sales. It also likes the potential of the store rollout in the coming years. Baby Bunting also recently announced that it was planning to expand to New Zealand with a physical store network.

In the actual report, Baby Bunting reported total sales growth of 16.6% to $217.3 million, with comparable store sales growth of 15%. Total online sales from the ASX share went up 95.9%.

The gross profit margin improved by 41 basis points to 37.4%. The pro forma earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 29.7% to $18.5 million, pro forma net profit after tax (NPAT) grew 43.5% to $10.8 million and statutory NPAT rose 54.7% to $7.5 million.

Comparable store sales growth for the first six weeks of the second half of FY21 was 18.5%.

Idp Education Ltd (ASX: IEL)

IDP Education describes itself as a global leader in international education services.

This ASX share is liked by at least five brokers.

One of the brokers that likes IDP is UBS. The recent result was much stronger than the broker was expecting and it believes that IDP definitely now counts as a high-quality business.

Whilst COVID-19 restrictions impacted earnings, the broker was impressed with the amount of remote learning with elevated levels of online enquiries.

UBS thinks that the structural theme that the ASX share benefits from is still on track and it will become stronger by the end of the year.

In the actual result, IDP Education reported that total revenue fell 29% to $269.1 million, EBITDA fell 33% to $68 million, EBIT dropped 43% to $47.3 million and NPAT declined 45% to $29.7 million.

The board of directors declared an 8 cents per share unfranked dividend, representing approximately 75% of the first half net profit after tax (NPAT).

The company said that it’s well positioned internationally as an industry leader with further investment planned in student placement, data science and international English language tests (IELTS).

Where to invest $1,000 right now

When investing expert Scott Phillips has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the flagship Motley Fool Share Advisor newsletter he has run for more than eight years has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.*

Scott just revealed what he believes are the five best ASX stocks for investors to buy right now. These stocks are trading at dirt-cheap prices and Scott thinks they are great buys right now.

*Returns as of February 15th 2021

Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Idp Education Pty Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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