The FTSE 250 index is a fertile hunting ground for growth stocks. Whereas many of the UK's largest stocks are struggling for growth at present, a scan through the FTSE 250 reveals an abundance of exciting companies that are growing at impressive speeds. Here's a look at two fast-growing companies I like right now.
While the UK high street isn't exactly flying high at present, one company that is motoring along at a nice rate is bakery chain Greggs(LSE: GRG). Indeed, a 100% rise in earnings per share over the last three years has seen Greggs' share price more than double in this time, from 600p to 1,260p today. Can this momentum continue?
The steak-bake specialist released a trading update this morning and the numbers look robust, in my view. Total sales for the 13 weeks to 30 September grew 8.6% and company-managed shop like-for-like sales rose 5%. For the year to date, total sales are up 7.8%. The baker advised that so far this year, it has opened 98 new shops, closed 32, and completed 120 refurbishments. It also noted that its new forecasting and replenishment system was resulting in greater product availability for customers and that its healthy 'balanced choice' range was popular among consumers.
City analysts expect top line growth of 6% for this year, which it looks as though the company will comfortably achieve, followed by growth of 6.8% next year. As such, Greggs' shares could continue to perform well going forward, in my view. A forward looking P/E ratio of 20 means that Greggs is not trading in bargain territory. However, given the company's current momentum, I believe there could be more gains to come for long-term investors.
Also offering growth stock appeal right now, in my opinion, is cinema operator Cineworld Group(LSE: CINE). This is a company that just continues to perform, despite the technological innovation we're seeing in the world today, and the rise in popularity of online streaming services such as Netflix.
Cineworld grew its top line by an impressive 13% last year, and City analysts expect that to continue in the near term, with 12% revenue growth estimated for FY2017. Upcoming titles such as Star Wars: Episode VIII, Paddington 2 and Blade Runner: 2049, should continue to attract movie-goers.
Half-year numbers released in August were good, with admissions up 10% for the period. Revenue rose 12.4% on a constant currency basis, and adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 21.3% to 15.4p. The interim dividend was hiked by an impressive 15.4% to 6p. The company noted that its refurbishment programme was progressing well and that this would create "next generation cinemas of a high quality with the latest audio and visual technology."
The stock currently trades on a forward looking P/E of 17.9, which looks reasonable in my view, given the growth potential on offer. A prospective 3.1% dividend yield, covered 1.8 times by earnings, also adds weight to the investment case. As such, I view Cineworld as a solid long-term option for investors seeking both growth and income.
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The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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.