Is It Game Over For HSBC Holdings plc, Diageo plc And Burberry Group plc?

Should you avoid these 3 China-focused stocks? HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA), Diageo plc (LON: DGE) and Burberry Group plc (LON: BRBY).

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The last few months have seen the Chinese growth story become increasingly less popular with investors. While previously the world’s second-largest economy was viewed as being in the midst of a soft landing, nowadays most investors accept that China won’t return to the level of economic growth that was recorded in recent years.

While this may prove to be a bad thing for a number of companies operating in the country, it doesn’t mean that consumer-focused stocks are set to post disappointing long-term profit growth. In fact, China’s transition from capital expenditure-led to consumer expenditure-led economy is likely to provide major growth opportunities for such companies, with around 326m Chinese expected to become middle-income earners in the next 15 years.

Therefore, demand for products such as alcoholic beverages, designer clothing and loans/credit is likely to soar, making China-focused stocks Diageo (LSE: DGE), Burberry (LSE: BRBY) and HSBC (LSE: HSBA) extremely attractive at the present time.

Bid target?

In the case of Diageo, it has an enviable stable of premium alcoholic drinks brands. Its products range from Johnnie Walker whisky to Smirnoff Vodka and even to Guinness stout, thereby making Diageo a relatively likely bid target over the medium-to-long term. That’s especially the case since the company’s share price has fallen by 8% in the last six months and it now trades on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 19.9. When compared to a number of its sector peers, this indicates good value for money.

Furthermore, Diageo also offers upbeat dividend prospects. It may yield a relatively low 3.3% at the present time, but with dividends being covered 1.5 times by profit there’s plenty of scope for increases in shareholder payouts over the medium term.

Value for money

Similarly, Burberry also offers excellent value for money after its shares have slumped by 30% in the last six months following a reduction in profit guidance. Although further downgrades can’t be ruled out, Burberry’s P/E ratio of 14.5 appears to take this risk into account. That’s especially true since Burberry offers a relatively wide economic moat, with customer loyalty being high not just in China, but across the globe too.

With Burberry having the potential to diversify its offering and become a true lifestyle brand, now seems to be an excellent opportunity to buy a slice of it. Certainly, it’s a stock for the long term and could go lower in the coming months, but for value investors it appears to be a strong buy.

Long-term option

Meanwhile, HSBC remains very cheap despite its cost-cutting plan making encouraging progress as it seeks to cut back on operating expenses that have ballooned to record levels. In fact, HSBC now trades on a P/E ratio of just 9.5 and with it yielding 7.1% from a dividend that’s well-covered at 1.5 times, it appears to be a star long-term buy.

Clearly, investor sentiment surrounding HSBC is rather low and there are concerns surrounding the wider global economic outlook. However, with HSBC being well-diversified and having a clear strategy to improve efficiencies in the coming years, it seems to be one of the most appealing buys not just among China-focused stocks, but within the FTSE 100 itself.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Peter Stephens owns shares of Burberry and HSBC Holdings. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Burberry and HSBC Holdings. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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