2 FTSE 100 growth giants that could fund your retirement

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Retire

If you're investing for your retirement, what should you do differently? I'd say nothing at all, because a good retirement investment strategy is simply a good investment strategy.Strategies aimed at maximising your long-term returns have a habit of turning out to be the most successful, whatever your age or plans.

To that end, there are many good stocks that should be good for long-term growth, and today I'm looking at two from the FTSE 100.

A new growth phase

AstraZeneca(LSE: AZN) has suffered a bit in recent years as the loss of patent protection on some key drugs has opened the way for cheap generic competition. Earnings have fallen as a result and the company has been working hard to focus on its core business and reinvigorate its development pipeline. 

You might imagine that the shares have had a few tough years as we await news of a return to earnings growth. But you'd be wrong, as AstraZeneca shares have actually gained 65% over the past five years, to 4,725p today. And over that period, the company has kept on paying dividends of around 5% and better.

So how will AstraZeneca do in a renewed period of sustainable growth? I think it will do very well indeed, and that were are on the verge of exactly that. Analysts seem to think the turnaround in earnings per share should happen in 2018 as the changes made by Pascal Soriot since he took the helm in 2012 are bearing fruit.

As of 2016 results time, 12 new drugs candidates had reached the Phase III stage or were under regulatory review, targeting oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and respiratory conditions, which are all growing first-world problems. And there are some clear candidates to become the blockbusters of tomorrow.

AstraZeneca shares are on a P/E of 15 on 2018 forecasts, and I reckon that could shrink rapidly over the next 10 years and make the shares look a real bargain today.

A hidden secret

GKN(LSE: GKN) is a company that has largely evaded me so far as its share price has somewhat stagnated in recent years, but while searching for solid growth candidates it has caught my eye. There was a minor dip in 2015, but since the end of 2012 the automotive engineer has grown its earnings per share by 18% -- and forecasts suggest a gain of 37% by 2018.

Over the same period, dividends have been modest in the 2%-3% range, but they're progressive and have been growing well ahead of inflation. That trend is expected to continue, and for me a dividend that is growing reliably in real terms is a very desirable thing.

Results for 2016 showed a 22% rise in revenue, which boosted adjusted pre-tax profit by 12%, and forecasts suggest two more years of earnings growth. And despite a one-off restructuring charge of £39m, the firm reckoned that has resulted in annualised savings of £30m.

We're looking at a company here that has come through a restructuring phase, has what I see as attractive growth potential over the next decade and more, and whose shares are trading on a forward P/E of only around 10. That looks to me to be a great candidate for a retirement portfolio.

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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of GKN. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AstraZeneca. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.