4 of my top picks from the FTSE 100: Barclays PLC, easyJet plc, AstraZeneca plc and Whitbread plc

These 4 stocks have upbeat investment outlooks in my view: Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) (BARC.L), easyJet plc (LON:EZJ) (EZJ.L), AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) (AZN.L) and Whitbread plc (LON:WTB) (WTB.L)

easyJet plc
easyJet plc

I’m optimistic about the outlook for the FTSE 100, which is why I’m taking a closer look at the prospects of Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) (BARC.L), easyJet plc (LON:EZJ) (EZJ.L), AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) (AZN.L) and Whitbread plc (LON:WTB) (WTB.L).

Barclays experienced a difficult period in 2017. Its share price has declined by 17% in the last year, with investors seemingly downbeat about the company’s prospects.

However, I think Barclays has a bright future. It is forecast to deliver double digit growth in the current financial year, and this could put it on a P/E ratio in the single digits. This suggests that it could offer high share price growth over the medium term.

easyJet may also perform well this year in my opinion. The company is expected to return to positive EPS growth after a period of declining profitability. The catalyst for this seems to be a new strategy to focus on passenger volumes.

Against a tough industry backdrop, the company’s performance has been strong. Although there is no guarantee that trading conditions will improve, easyJet seems to have a sound strategy that could help it to outperform its sector peers.

AstraZeneca is one of my top picks in the pharma sector. I’m optimistic about healthcare since the world population is growing in number and in age. This could mean that demand for a range of healthcare products increases in future years.

With AstraZeneca having what appears to be strong cash flow, it could continue to invest heavily in its pipeline. This could be the catalyst to turn its EPS growth from negative to positive over the medium term.

Whitbread’s share price could deliver high growth in my view since the company is expanding internationally. Although its Costa Express machines have provided it with international exposure for a number of years, Premier Inn and its Costa stores are growing in number in Germany and China respectively.

Both markets could provide Whitbread with growth potential in the long run. And with customer loyalty being relatively high in the UK, it could outperform many of its consumer goods peers over the medium term.