This year has been a positive year for AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) (AZN.L), Unilever plc (LON:ULVR) (ULVR.L), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (LON:RDSB) (RDSB.L) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) (RBS.L). All 4 stocks have made gains – are there more to come in 2018?
AstraZeneca has risen by 10% this year. In my view, there could be more growth to come since the company is forecast to return to positive EPS growth over the medium term. AstraZeneca has invested heavily in its product pipeline and this may help it to perform well in what remains one of my favourite industries. With a relatively defensive business model and growth potential, the stock could be a good addition to my ISA.
Unilever has jumped 28% higher in 2017. The company seems to have a good strategy which is focused on improving margins and efficiency over the medium term. This could have a positive effect on its profitability. Further, Unilever may also benefit from a tailwind in its markets. I’m bullish on the economic outlook of emerging economies, with consumer goods companies such as Unilever having the potential to capitalise on rising wealth levels in future years.
Shell has risen by 6% this year as a higher oil price has lifted the oil and gas sector. The company seems to have investment potential, with what looks like a relatively strong balance sheet and sound cash flow creating an opportunity for income investors like me. Shell has a good quality asset base in my eyes, and this could help it to generate EPS and dividend growth in 2018. Although the price of oil may be volatile, Shell remains one of my favourite FTSE 100 stocks.
RBS has surprised me this year. It has risen 22% during what has been a turbulent year for the UK economy. Although the outlook may be positive in the long run, in the short term political risks remain high from Brexit in my opinion. This could hold back the banking sector’s progress to some extent in terms of its share price performance. However, with RBS now moving ahead with its strategy and having upbeat EPS growth forecasts, it could perform relatively well in 2018.