These FTSE 100 shares exploded in November. Can they keep going?

The Motley Fool

Today I'm considering the share price prospects of two FTSE 100 rockets.


Power play

Power generator provider Ashtead Group (LSE: AHT) was far and away the Footsie's strongest performer in November.

After a weak start to the month, the stock surged back to clock an impressive 22% rise, Ashtead even touching fresh peaks of £15.60 in the process.

Ashtead has bounced higher thanks to the collapse of fellow plant hire play Hewden last month. The firm had been desperately seeking financial backers as the EU referendum had caused business to fall away, putting its balance sheet under huge stress.

The Manchester-based business called in the administrators last week, and Ashtead was quick to capitalise on Hewden's demise. Its A-Plant division snapped up "the powered access and power generation fleet of Hewden, five 'on-site' depots which service major petrochemical customers, the Interlift lifting and materials handling business and the Hewden brand name." Ashtead shelled out £29m for the assets.

While the failure of its rival will give Ashtead a larger chunk of the domestic market, the uncertainties created by the Brexit vote could see the business suffer similar top-line troubles as Hewden. Last month the ONS announced that UK construction activity contracted 1.1% during July-September, diving from the prior quarter's 0.1% decline and representing the worst performance for four years.

Last month's share price rise has seen Ashtead's P/E rating rise to 15.4 times for the period to April 2017, nudging just above the wider Footsie average of 15 times.

And while Ashtead's strong presence in the North American marketplace gives it some protection against any potential difficulties in its home markets, I reckon signs of increased domestic difficulty in the firm's half-year report (scheduled for Tuesday, 6 December) could see Ashtead's share price backtrack heavily.

Financial favourite

Insurance leviathan Prudential (LSE: PRU) also enjoyed a healthy share price bump during November, the stock adding 16% in value during the course of the month and reaching its highest since last December at one point.

Investors were encouraged to pile-in with gusto following Prudential's latest bubbly market update. The financial giant advised that new business profit clocked in at £1.97bn from January-June, up from new business profit of £1.76bn during the same 2015 period.

Again Prudential had surging demand from Asia to thank for this breakneck momentum, a region where new business profits grew 23% year-on-year in the nine months. And I expect revenues from the continent to keep spiralling higher as rising personal affluence drives financial product demand, and The Pru continues its ambitious Asian expansion programme.

The City expects Prudential to return to earnings growth in 2017, the company predicted to endure a rare blip in the current period. And next year's projection results in an ultra-low P/E rating of 11.9 times.

This is a bargain, in my opinion, given Prudential's strong sales momentum and growing presence in hot growth markets. And I reckon this low rating leaves plenty of room for further share price strength.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.