Motley Fool

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:10

So farewell then, buy-to-let. The glory years are now gone. Like an ageing pop star you were adored by the masses but cut an increasingly sorry figure today, as once starry-eyed investors abandon you in droves. Did it have to end this way?

Burning down the house

Buy-to-let was one of the hottest investments of the last two decades but has fallen victim to its own success, after former Chancellor George Osborne spotted its cash cow potential. He also saw it as a vote winner: cracking down on amateur landlords allowed him to pose as the first-time buyer's friend.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:05

Hutchison China Meditech (LSE:HCM) isn't a firm that many investors will have heard of, let alone invested in. But the AIM-listed biopharmaceutical company better-known as Chi-Med could be on the cusp of making it big... and I mean REALLY big.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:00

When you look at the history of the FTSE 100 over the long term, you'll find lots of companies clustered around the average performance mark -- but only a few really big winners and, of course, some big underperformers.

Today, I'm looking at two stocks that I believe have the credentials to deliver outsize returns for investors today. Indeed, I believe the growth prospects of these two firms are so strong that they could even help you retire early.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 15:40

Shares in Blue Prism (LSE:PRSM) have had a cracking time since the firm first floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) back in March 2016 -- not much more than a year later with the price at 680p, we're already looking at a six-bagger.

That's some stunning momentum there, but is it justified? And more importantly, does it have further to go?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 15:36

As grocery giant Tesco (LSE:TSCO) toils under the weight of increasing competitive pressures and rising costs, here I am looking at a London stock with far rosier growth prospects than the supermarket: crash test specialist AB Dynamics (LSE:ABDP).

Solid stats

Having said that, investor appetite for AB Dynamics has proved anything but explosive on Tuesday, the stock slipping 4% on a poor reception to its latest trading update.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 15:32

With the FTSE 100 trading close to an all-time high, it can be difficult to know whether now is the right time to buy or sell shares. After all, given the relatively high political risks present in Europe, the index could move sharply in either direction in the short run. That's why it could be prudent to buy stocks which offer a clear positive catalyst to boost their share price. This means they could perform well even if the wider market fails to rise.

With that in mind, here is one stock which may be worth buying, and one that seems to be worth avoiding right now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 13:57

A bubbly trading statement has driven Elementis' (LSE:ELM) share price 5% higher in Tuesday business. The chemicals maker is now dealing at its most expensive since April 2015 and is just a whisker away from punching fresh record peaks.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 13:33

Finding shares with upbeat growth prospects and low valuations can be challenging. At a time when the FTSE 100 is trading close to a record high, it is perhaps more difficult than ever. However, there are still stocks that could be worthy of investment for the long run. With that in mind, here are two shares that appear to offer a potent mix of high growth prospects and low valuations.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 13:17

The natural resources sector has always been a relatively risky industry in which to invest. Commodity prices are rarely stable for long, and this can mean somewhat volatile share prices for companies operating within the sector. Accordingly, a wide margin of safety seems to be necessary before buying natural resources stocks. Do these two shares offer valuations which are enticing enough to merit purchase at the present time?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 12:54

Investing in early-stage infrastructure companies can be a scary experience. Money seems to disappear into holes in the ground, without ever generating any revenue.

Shareholders of CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings (LSE:CITY) may understand this. The company - in which Neil Woodford's fund management group has a 17% stake - is building fibre networks in secondary cities around the UK. The plan is to attract corporate customers and do deals with retail broadband providers.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 12:52

A number of blue-chips in the FTSE 100 index are considerably less familiar to investors than widely-held stocks such as Lloyds, GlaxoSmithKline and Vodafone.

But just because a Footsie stock is relatively unknown doesn't mean it has inferior prospects than more familiar names. Today, I'm looking at two blue chips you may never have heard of, but which I believe could deliver superior returns.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 12:43

I wouldn't buy shares in the big-name UK-facing banks now, such as Lloyds Banking Group (LSE:LLOY), because growth is off the agenda. Lloyds expects earnings to come in flat during 2018.

But one firm shines like a beacon of light across the heaving quagmire that is the banking sector on the London stock exchange, and that company is Virgin Money Holdings (LSE:VM).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 12:28

Flooring vendor Carpetright (LSE:CPR) has seen its share price dive to seven-week troughs in Tuesday business after furnishing the market with poor trading numbers.

Carpetright was last 7% lower after advising that "we have experienced tougher trading conditions over the last three months," mirroring the misfortunes of much of the home improvement segment. And disappointingly the retailer noted that "the level of sales growth in our final quarter leads us to expect that full-year profits will be towards the lower end of the current range."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 12:21

Both before and after launching at 100p a share two years ago, Neil Woodford's Patient Capital Trust (LSE:WPCT) has generated a lot of column inches. Despite an initial rise, it's also lost a few friends along the way.

Now trading 7% lower than its issue price, are some investors right to be selling up or is this simply another example of the market becoming more short-termist than ever?

Early days

Last week's annual financial report on the trust for 2016 made for interesting reading.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:11

What should have been a routine trading statement turned out to be a nightmare for investors in data erasure firm Blancco Technology (LSE:BLTG) this morning. The company announced that an analysis of its cash flow projections had turned up a £4m shortfall that will need to be patched in the coming weeks to provide necessary working capital for Q4.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 10:27

While many companies with a high street presence may be suffering as a result of the explosion in online shopping, the popularity of cheap treats such as coffee and pastries make earnings for those that serve them up arguably more predictable. 

Reporting its final results to the market this morning, £7.7bn cap Whitbread (LSE:WTB) -- owner of Costa Coffee  -- is one such example. But is it a better buy than smaller peer Greggs (LSE:GRG)? Let's check the numbers.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 09:41

Constructing a dividend portfolio from scratch can seem like a daunting prospect to begin with, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of high-quality blue-chip dividend stocks out there, which would make great income investments for the investing beginner.

GlaxoSmithKline (LSE:GSK) is just one such example. Glaxo is a boring company. Over the past five years, shares in the group have risen by 8%, so if you're looking for the next Apple or Amazon, you should look elsewhere. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 09:35

In a Morningstar interview last week, Old Mutual star investment manager Richard Buxton put forth Lloyds (LSE:LLOY) as one of his top stocks due to a dividend that he and his analysts forecast will soon rise to 6p. Considering the bank's share price today is at 66p, this would mean a dividend yield of around 10%.

Of course, the company's shares would re-rate and this yield would fall, but it's worth exploring all the same whether or not Lloyds could nearly double its dividend in the coming years from the current 3.05p annual payout.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 09:28

As markets march higher and higher it's become increasingly difficult to find the high dividend yields that used to characterise the UK's largest listed equities. But while many income investors may be lowering their normal high standards to find big yields, there are two huge dividends out there that I would avoid at all costs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 07:20

With inflation steadily eroding the spending power of Britain's shoppers, I reckon cost-conscious retailers like Shoe Zone (LSE:SHOE) could be about to come into their own.

While the company endured some difficulties during the first half of the fiscal year, it is doubling-down on what it does best by expanding its value ranges (like the expansion of so-called multibuy offers). But the firm is also venturing into new product areas to drive sales and, with demand for non-footwear items surging 26% during the 12 months to October, this appears a sage strategy.