3 Quick Share Ideas From Neil Woodford


LONDON -- Ace dividend investor Neil Woodford revealed a trio of share tips this morning after reviewing the performance of one of his portfolios.

The high-yield expert, who delivered gains of 300%-plus during the 15 years to 2011 and currently manages some 20 billion pounds on behalf of retail and institutional investors, provided the three ideas within today's half-year results for Edinburgh Investment Trust (ISE: EDIN.L) .

Woodford said today, "News that the Australian Government had been successful in defending a challenge from the tobacco industry against the introduction of plain packaging had largely been expected, but appeared to act as a catalyst for profit taking in a sector which has performed very strongly over the past few years."

Woodford has been a longtime fan of British American Tobacco (ISE: BATS.L) (NYS: BTI) and claimed this morning that tobacco shares in general "represent exactly the sort of quality stocks that can deliver attractive profit and dividend growth through a low economic growth environment."

Importantly, Woodford said he did not believe tobacco shares were "valued appropriately" at present. BAT, for instance, offers a potential income of 4.2% at 32 pounds a share, with the dividend forecast to advance a further 10% during 2013.

At the last count, BAT represented 7% of Woodford's Edinburgh trust portfolio.

Woodford had a few words to say about BAE Systems (ISE: BA.L) this morning. In particular, he reckoned the group's proposed merger with EADS "did not look particularly beneficial to shareholders," and he was no doubt pleased when the deal was called off. Indeed, Woodford claimed this morning that a stand-alone BAE "will be a valuable future contributor to the portfolio," which is presumably why the defense contractor's shares still represent 4% of the Edinburgh trust.

Anyone buying BAE shares today at about 300 pence could be paying just seven times possible 2012 earnings and be in line for a 6%-plus income. City brokers reckon the dividend could be raised a fraction during 2013, as well.

Finally, Woodford confirmed today that his Edinburgh trust "took advantage of a placing of shares" to increase its investment in Capita (ISE: CPI.L) during recent months.

He said Capita had issued the additional share capital to allow the company to make further bolt-on acquisitions, and at the time the company said, "The current acquisitions environment continues to offer a rare opportunity to broaden the business."

Capita is perhaps not a traditional FTSE 100 income share, with a possible yield at a market-average 3.4% available at the 685 pence Woodford paid in the placing. However, the outsourcer has a tremendous record of dividend growth: Its payout has expanded at a 19% average compound rate between 2006 and 2011. So perhaps Woodford is hoping a faster-growing payment can complement some of the other higher but slower-growing yields in his portfolio.

Capita currently represents nearly 4% of Woodford's Edinburgh trust.

Other Woodford favorites
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