2 great stocks for growth and dividend hunters

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The share value of Unite Group (LSE: UTG) was 2% higher in start-of-week trade after the business announced positive news on its property portfolios.

The student accommodation provider said that its UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) was valued at £2,076m as of June 30, a like-for-like increase of 0.9% from the end of March. Moreover, its London Student Accommodation Joint Venture (LSAV) was valued at £1,084m, up 0.5% on a like-for-like basis.

Valuation yields have remained stable, Unite noted, with the USAF portfolio valued at an average yield of 5.6% and LSAV’s portfolio at 5%.

And in other news, chief financial officer Joe Lister advised that “reservations for 2017/18 continue to perform strongly, ahead of last year, demonstrating the continued demand for our rooms and services and the streamlined booking process.”

Reservations for the 2017/2018 academic year stand at 89% versus 87% a year ago, Unite noted. This is supportive of the company reaching its 98% occupancy target and rental growth of between 3% and 3.5% for the year, it added.

The demand is driven by our focus on long-term partnerships with universities and our investment in locations where demand for purpose-built student accommodation is the strongest,” Lister commented.

Growth generator

It comes as little surprise to me that the number crunchers expect profits to keep piling higher at Unite. The City expects the FTSE 250 play to keep its long-running growth story going with rises of 7% and 16% in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

While a forward P/E ratio of 22 times may appear a little ‘toppy’ on paper, I reckon Unite is worthy of such a premium as housing demand from both homegrown and international students continues to shoot higher.

Furthermore, it offers plenty of attraction for those looking for stocks doling out chunky dividend growth year after year. Last year’s 18p per share reward is predicted to step to 22.1p in the current period, and again to 25.6p in 2018.

Consequently a very-respectable yield of 3.4% for 2017 leaps to 3.9% in the following period. And I expect dividends to keep stomping higher in lockstep with earnings.

Build a fortune

Construction colossus CRH (LSE: CRH) is another great all-rounder for savvy investors, in my opinion.

The Dublin company is expected to report earnings expansion of 23% in 2017 and 16% next year, resulting in a decent forward P/E rating of 16.9 times.

And this perky profits picture is predicted to keep dividends marching skywards. Last year’s payment of 65 euro cents per share will rise to 67.8 cents in the current period, the City says, yielding 2.2%. And the yield moves to 2.3% as a huge dividend increase, to 72.1 cents, is anticipated.

I am convinced CRH’s bottom line should continue to bulge as construction activity in Europe and The Americas moves steadily northwards. The FTSE 100 star’s M&A-led growth strategy puts it in the box seat to enjoy perky profits growth as trading conditions improve, and I reckon the prospect of further significant acquisitions makes it an exciting prospect for the years ahead.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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