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Top stocks for 2008
Top Stocks For 2008

Although there has been a prediction of more despair for stock markets well into 2008, opportunities for investors still abound provided they are extra vigilant. It is predicted that companies which have good growth prospects and strong balance sheets should continue to outperform in 2008 and be the top stocks for 2008. It is, however, important not to downplay companies with considerable slow growth as there are opportunities aplenty.  The following are a list of predicted best stocks for 2008:

  1. Cable & Wireless, one of the top stocks for 2008, is one of the world's leading international communications companies, and has recently been moving towards the corporate sector. One of the best stocks for 2008, it operates through an international and UK business unit and has had its share price rise by 60% over the past two years. Cable & Wireless sets it revenue growth in its Europe, Asia, and U.S. business at between 5% and 8% per year for the next 5 years.

  2. Faroe Petroleum, which has spent most parts of 5 years positioning itself to best effect, has recently raised £45m to fully finance the drilling of about 26 wells over the next two years. Although there have been predictions of the oil sector's demise, 2007 saw a surge in the price of oil close to $100 a barrel, suggesting that oil is still a force to reckon with in the stock market. Faroe Petroleum, one of the top stocks for 2008, is an independent oil and gas company which carries out its exploration and appraisal drilling around the Faroe Islands and UK West of Shetlands, the North Sea, and the Norwegian Sea. It recently acquired 15% interest in Norwegian licences and boasts diversification in its asset base, making it one of the best stocks for 2008.

  3. Scottish and Southern Energy, which is one of the largest energy companies in the UK, is involved in the generation, transmission, distribution, and supply of electricity. This top stock for 2008, it is also involved in energy trading; storage, distribution, and supply of gas; electrical and utility contracting; as well as telecoms. It recently entered into an agreement with EDF Energy to acquire Seeboard Trading Limited, a company which finances and operates street lighting replacement and maintenance projects for three local authorities in the south of England for a total cash consideration of £7.8m. In 2007, it declared an interim dividend of 18.1 pence per share, compared with 15.1 pence in the previous year, boasting an increase of 19.9%.  Scottish and Southern Energy is definitely one of the best stocks for 2008.

  4. Compass Group, another that made the list of the top stocks for 2008, is the world's largest foodservice or catering company, which generates up to £10 billion in revenues. It operates across a variety of sectors including Defence, Offshore and Remote Site, Education, Healthcare, Business and Industry, Sports and Leisure, as well as Vending. It has a high degree of visibility over its earning stream as it operates in the food service market under long term contracts. According to experts, its £1bn share buyback will drive its earning growth of about 23% to make it one of the best stocks for 2008.

  5. Hikma Pharmaceuticals, a leading generic pharmaceutical company with significant presence in the Middle East and North Africa region, United States, and Europe, has seen its size double every four years, and is set to continue with this trend, making it one of the best stocks for 2008. It has made four acquisitions over the past year and its shares are on almost 20 times forecast earnings for 2008.

  6. Balfour Beatty, a world class engineering, construction, services, and investment company, has projects including building the largest proportion of the M25 motorway in the UK. Of recent, it has been awarded a contract, as part of the Interlink M74 Joint Venture, by Glasgow City Council to complete the M74 motorway in Scotland. It has an annual revenue of £5.8bn and has orders in the pipeline to the tune of more than £9bn—easily adding it to the list of top stocks for 2008.

  7. Rio Tinto, another of the best stocks for 2008, and one of the world's leading mining and exploration companies, has a solid reputation in mining aluminium, copper, iron ore, lead, gold, and diamond, as well as industrial minerals. Rio Tinto's aim is to maximize the overall return to its shareholders by concentrating on large scale mining operations, which have a long life and are cost effective. Recently, Rio Tinto announced the approval of US$475 million project to increase the Iron Ore Company of Canada's annual production of iron ore concentrate to 22 million tones. This move may see the production capability increase 50% by 2011. The decision is thought to highlight the level of confidence in market conditions over the long term.

  8. Bunzl is one of the world's fastest growing specialist distribution groups with operations in the UK and Ireland, Europe, Australia, and the U.S. Its market sectors cover catering equipment, hotel and catering, vending, retail, redistributors, convenience stores, food processors, contract cleaning, safety, and healthcare. The group recorded double digits sales and profit growth in 2007 and predictions are highly positive to make it one of the best stocks for 2008.

  9. Lloyds TSB, a UK based retail bank, generates most of its revenue from its life insurance and pension/investment arm. As it does most of its business in the UK and Europe, Lloyds TSB does not have as much exposure to the weak US dollar as other multinational banks. Making the list of the best stocks for 2008, it currently has solid dividend payments, as it pays out a dividend yield of about 7.4% for U.S. American depositary receipt holders. 

  10. Tesco is one of the world's leading international retailers with a long term strategy for growth. It is greatly improving its overseas business in Eastern Europe, the U.S., and the Far East without taking its eyes off the core UK market. It is thought that the recent doubling of its share buyback programme to a tune of £3bn will add further support to Tesco's shares.  Tesco rounds out the top ten on the list of the top stocks for 2008.

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