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.
Last year was transformative for drugmaker Shire(LSE: SHP). Its $32bn merger with US firm Baxalta created the world leader in rare diseases. Being the global number one in a large and expanding market gives Shire the potential to deliver superior returns for investors in the decades to come.
In its annual results, released in February, the company reported that the Baxalta integration is progressing ahead of schedule, with operating expense synergy initiatives bearing fruit earlier than expected and legacy Baxalta products transitioning quickly onto Shire's commercial platform. I'm expected further positive news on the progress of the integration when the company announces its Q1 results next Tuesday.
In addition to the existing portfolio of drugs, Shire's pipeline is now stronger and deeper than it's ever been, making chief executive Flemming Ornskov "extremely optimistic" about the company's long-term growth prospects. I believe the valuation at the current share price of 4,625p represents a great opportunity for investors to buy into these prospects.
Company guidance on diluted earnings per share (EPS) for 2017 is $43.80 to $45.60, compared with a pro forma $39.30 last year, giving growth of 11.5% to 16%. At current exchange rates, the EPS guidance equates to 343p to 357p, giving an undemanding price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio at the 350p mid-point of 13.2.
Worldpay(LSE: WPG) is another stock I believe could deliver outsized returns. This card, online and contactless payments processor serves 400,000 merchants in 126 currencies across 146 countries, offering over 300 payment methods. It's the number one processor in the UK (42% of all transactions), as well as one of the leading global operators.
The move from cash to electronic transactions is a great structural growth driver for Worldpay, but this pioneering company is also aiming to lead the way in expanding global reach, data analytics and optimisation, and the emerging field of integrated payments.
All of this adds up to a business that could deliver tremendous growth and returns for shareholders long into the future. In the shorter term, analysts have been regularly upgrading their earnings forecasts for 2017 and 2018. As things presently stand, with the shares at 302p, the P/E is 22.2, falling to 19.2.
I wouldn't be surprised to see further earnings upgrades, bringing the P/Es down but the investment case doesn't rest on that. I believe the shares are very buyable at their current level, based on what I see as the company's terrific long-term growth prospects.
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G A Chester has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Worldpay. 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.