I've Beaten the FTSE by 20% in 6 Months

LONDON -- Back in February, I created a portfolio of 10 shares that I thought would outperform the FTSE 100, based on forecasts that the U.K.'s population will continue to grow strongly over the next decade.

Six months later, I'm pleased to report that my population growth portfolio is outperforming the FTSE 100 by a solid margin on both price and dividend yield.

Report card
Here's how the portfolio looks now, after six months:


6-Month Share Price Change

Current Dividend Yield

Carillion (ISE: CLLN.L)



Aviva (ISE: AV.L)






Royal Dutch Shell



Marks & Spencer (ISE: MKS.L)



BT Group









Vodafone (ISE: VOD.L)



National Grid (ISE: NG.L)




FTSE 100



Source: Morningstar, Digital Look (28/02/2012-23/08/2012).

The market value of the population growth portfolio has fallen 2% against a wider fall in the FTSE 100 of 2.55%, meaning that the portfolio has outperformed the FTSE by 20%. Dividend income continues to be outstanding: The 5.1% yield from my portfolio is 50% higher than the 3.4% yield currently offered by the FTSE 100.

The next six months could be turbulent for stock markets, especially if the eurozone crisis continues to worsen. Can my portfolio continue to deliver the goods? I've selected five companies that I think could easily outperform the market over the next six to 12 months.

Since February, Aviva has ejected its CEO, Andrew Moss, and appointed its chairman John McFarlane as interim CEO. Early signs are promising. McFarlane has an impressive track record and has already restructured top management and announced a plan to focus on 15 high-performing business segments, with all others being either improved or sold.

So far, sell-offs have included a share of Aviva's Dutch business, Delta Lloyd, plus its Czech, Romanian and Hungarian life insurance business. However, the big deal investors are waiting for is the disposal of Aviva's U.S. arm. Aviva is said to have received approaches about the sale of its U.S. business, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

McFarlane has also promised 400 million pounds of cost savings, and this morning Aviva announced that up to 800 of the company's 18,500 U.K. employees could face the ax.

The only FTSE 250 share I chose was infrastructure engineer Carillion, whose share price has fallen by 21% since the end of February, making it the worst performer in the portfolio.

As a result, Carillion currently trades on a P/E of 6.3 with a yield of 6.3%, covered 2.3 times by earnings. I think it looks cheap, and the company's most recent interim results -- published this week -- seem to support this.

In the first half of this year, Carillion delivered a 24% increase in profit margins, a reduction in net borrowing and a modest increase in profit. It has a healthy order book and expects revenues to rise in the second half of 2012.

National Grid
Like all regulated utilities, National Grid periodically has to renegotiate its pricing structure with its regulator, OFGEM. That time is fast approaching and OFGEM is proposing substantial changes for the new set of price controls, which will run from 2013-2021.

As well as specifying how much National Grid can charge its customers, the new deal will specify the investment and transmission network upgrades it is required to deliver. OFGEM's final proposals are due in December, so for investors, there's a degree of uncertainty involved about how much profit National Grid will be allowed to make.

Despite this, the markets seem confident: National Grid's share price is up 10% so far this year.

Marks & Spencer
M&S just isn't cutting it on the high street these days. We love its food, and its Internet business is doing OK, but everyone's shopping for clothes at Next, instead.

That was the gist of M&S' first-quarter results, and the consequences have been immediate. Kate Bostock, the company's head of general merchandise (clothing), is heading for the exit and her place has been taken by John Dixon, who was previously responsible for food.

M&S will be hoping that Dixon can deliver the same kind of success he has brought to the company's food offering. To help him, it's appointed a new style director, Belinda Earl, who is the ex-CEO of Debenhams, Jaeger and Aquascutum.

In the meantime, M&S' twice-covered 4.8% dividend yield should continue to deliver an attractive income for shareholders.

Vodafone finally completed its bargain 1 billion-pound acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide in July, putting in place the foundations required to expand its enterprise business and drive growth in otherwise flat markets, like Western Europe.

Despite the eurozone crisis, the mobile giant is still delivering growth, with data revenues up 17.1% in the last quarter and strong emerging market growth.

I believe that Vodafone's scale and geographical diversity will protect it from all but a global meltdown -- and the markets seem to agree.

Which sectors for global growth?
When I chose the shares for this demonstration portfolio, I focused on companies that I understood and which deliver key products or services to the U.K.'s population.

However, many U.K.-listed companies serve global markets and have quite different profiles to the companies I've chosen -- especially those with businesses in large emerging markets, like India. Identifying the top growth sectors in these countries is not necessarily easy.

Luckily, I can suggest a good starting point for your research. "Top Sectors for 2012" is a special report from the Motley Fool's team of analysts. It's completely free and looks at three different sectors, all of which offer some very attractive opportunities.

I've read the report and found it very useful, so I would strongly recommend you download a copy to see for yourself. It's completely free and without obligation, but availability is strictly limited, so download it now.

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Further investment opportunities

The article I've Beaten the FTSE by 20% in 6 Months originally appeared on Fool.com.

Roland owns shares in Aviva, Royal Dutch Shell, GlaxoSmithKline, Tesco and Vodafone but does not own any of the other shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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