1 cheap FTSE 100 share to buy in April

Plenty of FTSE 100 shares currently look undervalued to our writer, but this UK stock market giant deserves special attention.

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FTSE 100 shares are sometimes overlooked by investors in favour of US stocks listed on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite. After all, UK-quoted companies account for around 4% of the global stock market’s total value — a number that’s dwarfed by America’s 58% share.

However, in a year that’s likely to be defined by an ongoing battle to reduce inflation and choppy trading action, defensive Footsie stocks could outperform once again, just as they did last year.

One UK stock I’ll be investing in this month is AstraZeneca (LSE:AZN), which is the largest business in London’s blue-chip index measured by market-cap. I already own shares in the healthcare giant, but here’s why I’m buying more in April.

A pharmaceutical innovator

AstraZeneca became a household name during the pandemic, due to its effective Covid-19 vaccine. The biotech titan is a highly innovative company with deep expertise in developing medicines to address a variety of healthcare challenges.

As the chart below shows, growth in the AstraZeneca share price has significantly outpaced HSBC‘s FTSE 100 index tracker fund over the last five years, increasing 128% against the Footsie’s 8% gain. That’s a remarkable outperformance.

So can the firm continue to grow at a blistering pace? The numbers seem to suggest it can.

Full-year results for 2022 revealed strong progress across key metrics. Revenue grew 25% to hit $44.4bn and core earnings per share expanded 33% to reach $6.66.

What’s more, the firm is initiating over 30 phase III trials this year, including potential blockbuster medicines for breast cancer and hypertension. A robust pipeline is critical in replacing lost revenues from patent expirations. That’s because intellectual property protection covering existing products typically only lasts for a maximum of 20 years.

Retreating sales for AstraZeneca’s Covid treatments are a concern. However, I think the company’s industry-leading R&D programme should sufficiently offset any lost revenue as the world moves on from the pandemic.

Diversification

Another aspect I like about the company is the diversified nature of its revenue streams.

Therapy AreaPercentage of Total FY22 Revenue
Oncology35%
Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism 21%
Rare Disease16%
Respiratory and Immunology 11%
Vaccines and Immune Therapies11%
Other4%

The business is geographically diversified too.

RegionPercentage of Total FY22 Revenue
US40%
Emerging Markets26%
Europe 20%
Rest of the World13%

Diversification is an important quality to consider when it comes to the stability of a business, and AstraZeneca doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It has strength across a variety of markets and sales in almost every corner of the globe.

In addition, management expects a return to full-year revenue growth in China this year. That’s a promising development considering this is a crucial market for the company.

Why I’m buying more AstraZeneca shares

There’s always a risk clinical trials can disappoint, which could translate into volatility in the AstraZeneca share price. However, I think any dips are likely to be short-lived. The company’s impressive pipeline means it isn’t overly reliant on any single medicine’s breakthrough potential.

With solid financials, a diverse business model, and economies of scale in a sector where size matters, AstraZeneca looks like a great investment to me.

I’ll be adding to my position this month.

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.

HSBC Holdings is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Charlie Carman has positions in AstraZeneca Plc. The Motley Fool UK has recommended HSBC Holdings. 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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