Share tips: eight stocks that should deliver robust returns

Ryan Ermey of US publication Kiplinger’s Personal Finance chooses his favourite stocks for the next decade, which should be able to grow for years.

Fox TV presenter © Steven Ferdman/Getty Images
Fox could be a winner from the US legalisation of sports betting

II-VI Incorporated

(Nasdaq: IIVI)

Pronounced "two-six", this business develops and manufactures lasers and fibre-optic equipment used in the industrial, semiconductor and defence sectors. The stock has been in the doldrums since news broke last year of plans to buy optical communications specialist Finisar. The $3.2bn takeover was completed in September, and the two firms' combined forces should now open up new opportunities in self-driving cars and biometric security. The potential market for II-IV's products could swell to $22bn per year by 2022, "a 20% annualised growth rate from today's levels". $33

Bayer AG

(Germany: BAYN)

This German pharmaceutical and agricultural technology business bought US peer Monsanto in 2018 and thus became the heir to that firm's Roundup weedkiller scandal. Lawsuits are still swirling, and investors have dumped the stock, but on only ten times forward earnings it is now "dirt cheap". For those willing to take on the associated risks, this could prove a cheap way to buy into a business with market-leading agricultural technology that helps farmers grow more food. With the world population growing and arable land shrinking as cities expand, the coming decade will bring strong demand for green technology. €71

Burlington

(NYSE: BURL)

This retailer of brand-name clothing, household and beauty products is following TJ Maxx's (TK Maxx in Britain) road to success: buying up spare branded items in the wholesale market and reselling them cheaply. The group owns 700 stores in the United States. It is posting market-leading like-for-like sales in existing shops. William Blair analysts tip the business to deliver impressive earnings-per-share growth of 13% next year. $192

Floor & Decor Holdings

(NYSE: FND)

This flooring specialist sells tile, wood and laminate coverings from its 113 stores across the United States. It is a disruptive business for two reasons, says Laird Bieger of the Baron Discovery fund. Firstly, it bypasses distributors and buys directly from manufacturers. That enables it to offer cheaper prices than the competition. Secondly, its "big-box" store model gives it the space to stock a wider range of products than its peers. Flooring professionals, who account for 60% of sales, don't want to have to wait around for orders to ship from off-site locations. Store openings have been growing at a clip of 20% per year over the past three years and overall revenue is up by an average of 30% per year over the same period. Analysts see scope for more growth and fatter profit margins down the line. $46

Fox

(Nasdaq: FOX)

This $20bn TV and cable company ties together the main Fox channel offering Fox News, Fox Sports and the like with a share in the streaming platform Roku. Revenue comes from advertising and licensing fees for its content. Management is confident that its bias towards live sport and news will insulate it from the wider trend for consumers to "cut the cord" and switch over to streaming services. The new "Fox Bet" venture could be a winner from the legalisation of sports betting in America. $32

Huntsman

(NYSE: HUN)

This chemicals producer is transforming itself from being a bulk seller of commodity chemicals, which are prone to boom-and-boost cycles, to becoming a player in the higher-margin speciality chemicals sector. The company recently disposed of two such commodity chemicals units for $2bn. Management is using the cash to pay down debt and strengthen the balance sheet, efforts rewarded this year by a credit-rating upgrade from junk status to triple-B investment grade. Yet at 13 times forward earnings the scale of the company's transformation doesn't appear to have been priced in yet. $22

Medallia

(NYSE: MDLA)

This customer feedback software platform only listed in July and is not expected to turn a profit for at least two more years. That makes it one for the brave, but those willing to take the plunge will find much to like. A leader in the "experience management" market, the firm uses artificial intelligence to "help insurance, hotel, auto and media firms assess customer and employee satisfaction". The software scans language used everywhere from social media and travel blogs to keep abreast of sentiment. This approach is rapidly replacing the old model of customer feedback forms and should drive strong revenue growth over the next five years. $29

Systemax

(NYSE: SYX)

This direct-marketing firm supplies everything from computers to warehouse equipment. Keefer Babbitt of the Grandeur Peak Global Contrarian fund says that its "well-trained sales staff, easy-to-use website and efficient warehouses" enable it to deliver better service than the competition. The group has disposed of struggling overseas operations to focus on its US business and $96m of free cash on the balance sheet gives it the option to grow through acquisitions too. Management expects sales to increase at an annualised double-digit rate over the next five years. $22

Tyson Foods

(NYSE: TSN)

African swine fever has led to the cull of more than 20% of China's pork herd, but the resulting disruption represents an opportunity for this supplier of pork, beef and chicken. A growing global middle-class will drive "exponential increases" in demand for protein over the next decade. The prepared food business yields 21% of sales, a higher-margin and more stable market than meat commodities. On 13 times next year's earnings the shares trade at a discount to the average multiple of 17 for this sector. $83

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