The FTSE 100 is on a slide as the latest US bank crisis unfolds. And there’s talk about a possible crash.
Investors have had a tough time in recent years. And I reckon it’s a good idea to keep some defensive stocks stashed away. So today, I’m looking at three I think long-term investors might like.
No stock can be truly crash-proof, but I reckon some are a lot safer than others. Tesco (LSE: TSCO) is my top choice, so I’ll start there.
I ask three key questions when I try to identify safe stocks to buy.
Does the company provide essential goods or services that we just can’t do without? Check. You can’t get much more essential than food.
Is it a leader in its sector? Check. Tesco is by far the biggest in the UK, with 27% of the groceries market.
And are the shares good value? Check. Forecasts put the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio at 15, and it’s expected to fall. The dividend yield is at more than 4%. All fine by me.
None of this guarantees success, as it’s a very competitive market. Also, costs are rising and margins are squeezed. So there’s risk. But then there’s always some risk with everything.
The supermarket business has to be a relatively safe one. And I’d label Tesco ‘best in class’.
GSK (LSE: GSK) is an example where valuation brings it out on top. The shares have been volatile over five years, and they’re down this year.
I think GSK nails it on the essentials front. It must be hard to go a year of prescription medication without seeking GSK products.
Best in sector? Well, I’d put it at 50/50 along with AstraZeneca. But AstraZeneca has been boosted by the Covid vaccine factor. And that puts the shares on a forecast P/E of over 25. GSK is valued at less than half that, down at 11.
Because of the difference in valuation, GSK’s dividend is a lot better too, at 4%.
This is an industry that needs massive capital investment, which brings risk. And we can see the price chart volatility. I’d say GSK definitely needs a long-term investing horizon.
My third pick is City of London Investment Trust (LSE: CTY)
It doesn’t offer anything essential, and it’s just one of many good alternatives. But it does invest in companies that score on my criteria. So it holds Shell, Diageo, Unilever, and other top FTSE 100 blue-chips.
It also holds bank shares, which must be why the share price just fell. So I’d say that’s where the main risk lies. If we get a wider market crash, I’d expect a wobble. But hopefully not as big as the riskiest stocks.
On valuation, the dividend is key for me here. City of London has raised it for 56 years in a row, and it offers a 5% yield.
Diversifying is a key part of investing safety. And an investment trust like this provides one-stop diversification.
The post 3 crash-resistant FTSE shares to buy today? appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.
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Alan Oscroft has positions in City Of London Investment Trust Plc. The Motley Fool UK has recommended GSK and Tesco Plc. 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.