The FTSE 100 has risen by 17% over the last year. But each of the stocks I’m looking at today has outperformed the big cap index, in one case by more than 100%. I think these winning stocks are still among the best shares to buy today and am considering them for my portfolio.
Up 150% in one year!
The Royal Mail (LSE: RMG) share price has risen by an incredible 150% over the last year. You might not expect me to say this, but I still think the shares offer decent value.
After a tough start to last year, the pandemic seems to have accelerated the transformation of this business towards parcels. Along the way, profits have been boosted by the big increase in online retail.
I guess that some Internet shopping activity will drop off as life returns to normal. But Royal Mail’s latest trading update suggests that parcel volumes will remain higher after the pandemic, suggesting a new normal.
I’ve avoided buying these shares before because I feared that the cost and difficulty of modernising the service would put pressure on profits for years. This remains a concern for me, but I think the pandemic has kickstarted this process.
Broker forecasts for the current year put Royal Mail shares on eight times forecast earnings, with a 4% dividend yield. I think this could be one of the best UK shares to buy today.
The picture is improving
My next pick is a stock I’ve owned for some time already. However, events over the last year mean that ITV (LSE: ITV) is still trading quite close to my original purchase price.
This broadcaster facing challenges from streaming services such as Netflix and falling advertising revenues. These risks remain, but I’m encouraged by the company’s progress under CEO Carolyn McCall.
Revenue and operating profit during the first half of 2021 rose above 2019 levels, which seems like a strong result to me. The ITV Studios production business is continuing to expand, and advertising income has recovered strongly since businesses reopened earlier this year.
I also believe there’s hidden value in ITV’s huge archive of programming, which includes many top shows from recent decades.
I don’t know what the future holds for ITV, but with the shares trading on nine times forecast earnings, I think this FTSE 100 stock is too cheap.
Electric cars: the best share to buy?
Car manufacturers such as NIO and Tesla have grabbed investors’ attention over the last year. Personally, I’m avoiding these hyped-up stocks in favour of FTSE 100 chemicals group Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT).
This chemicals business is best known today as a leading supplier of catalytic converters. However, the group is currently in the process of building a sizeable battery business using in-house technology. It’s also investing in green hydrogen.
These new technologies may seem a big leap for a business with roots in precious metal refining. But Johnson Matthey has been in business for 204 years and has adapted successfully to new technology many times before. My bet is that this will continue.
Johnson Matthey has been on my shopping list for a while. The stock has risen by 28% over the last year. Even so, I still think the shares look reasonably priced at under 3,000p. I’d buy this FTSE 100 share for my portfolio as a long-term play on electric transport.
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Roland Head owns shares of ITV. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended NIO Inc., Netflix, and Tesla. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ITV. 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.