2 bargain stocks I'd buy today
John Laing Infrastructure Fund's (LSE: JLIF) share price was flat in start-of-week business following a muted reception to the company's robust half-time financials.
The company -- which invests in government-backed infrastructure projects -- saw net asset value improve to £1.2bn as of June 2017, up 11.5% year-on-year, figures it said were "primarily as a result of investments and the shareholder tap issue."
Meanwhile, John Laing Infrastructure Fund's portfolio value grew to £1.22bn from £1.18bn a year earlier. And total shareholder returns rose 6.2% during the January to June period.
In other news, the FTSE 250 company advised that it enjoyed strong cash flows from its diversified portfolio of 63 projects. But in less-cheery news, John Laing saw pre-tax profit slump to £34.7m in the half year to £72.3m in the corresponding 2016 period.
Bigger scope, bigger returns?
At its May AGM, John Laing Infrastructure Fund shareholders voted to amend certain aspects of its investment policy. The move has eased the geographical restrictions facing the fund and could really light a fire under future returns.
The Guernsey entity still has to maintain at least 50% of total assets by value here in the UK. But the new policy, as chairman Paul Lester puts it, "affords the company greater flexibility to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities that previously it would have been precluded from pursuing and will support the company's future growth."
That is not to say that John Laing Infrastructure Fund's existing revenues outlook isn't much to shout about. Indeed, Lester noted that "the pipeline of new opportunities is promising with deals coming through the First Offer Agreements with John Laing Group plc and from industry relationships."
Although the fund is expected to endure a 27% earnings slide in 2017, it is expected to bounce back with an 11% rise next year. And these projections make the infrastructure brilliant value for money, the stock boasting a bargain-basement forward P/E ratio of 7.7 times.
Meanwhile, those seeking chunky dividend growth also need to give it serious attention. Last year's 6.82p per share reward is predicted to step to 9.7p in 2017 and to 10.2p in 2018, resulting in chunky yields of 3.3% and 3.5%.
Those seeking hot earnings and dividend growth in the years ahead also need to check out ITV (LSE: ITV) right now.
Current turbulence in the global advertising market is expected to result in a rare earnings dip at the Coronation Street and Love Island producer, a 7% bottom-line reverse currently being anticipated by City brokers.
But with ad revenues expected to pick up again in the medium term, and the company's ITV Studios division also continuing to make stunning progress, the London-based broadcaster is predicted to get moving in the right direction again in 2018 with a 2% profits improvement.
Current projections result in a forward P/E ratio of just 10.4 times. But it is in the dividend arena where ITV really stands out -- projected payments of 7.8p and 9.5p per share for this year and next create monster yields of 4.8% and 5.9% respectively. I reckon the FTSE 100 star is a brilliant all-rounder for shrewd long-term investors.
Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ITV. 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.