What’s the best FTSE 100 stock to buy now the general election is almost behind us?

The stock market hates uncertainty, so we may see a surge for FTSE 100 shares late next week once the result of the election is in.

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For the FTSE 100, it may not matter which political party gets into government. The important factor is the uncertainty of the election will soon be over.

Businesses are often good at adapting to whatever general conditions prevail. But stock markets hate uncertainty. So we may see a relief rally just because all the tub-thumping and shouting will be over.

I think it’s a good time to research FTSE 100 stocks right now. Therefore, I’d work down my watchlist and try to pick the best-looking opportunities to focus on.

A resurgent retailer

For example, Marks and Spencer (LSE: MKS) has paused its trend higher during June, and now is perhaps a good time to consider the business.

After years of trying, the clothing, home and food retailer has finally clicked onto a turnaround strategy that’s working.

The company’s rehabilitation efforts are being headed by chief executive Stuart Machin. From what I’ve read, Machin has earned a reputation as a switched-on and dynamic retail leader with great people skills. So the fortunes of the enterprise appear to be in good hands.

He’s been at the helm for a couple of years now, and the outcomes are plain to see in the share price chart.

Earnings have been rising and City analysts expect further advances this year and next. The company restarted shareholder dividends in the recent trading year to March. Predictions are for the payment to shoot up further by robust double-digit percentages ahead.

The improvements in the figures reflect the big advances the firm’s making revitalising its operations.

I can’t deny the share price has travelled a long way already. At 293p (27 June), it’s up by more than 180% since October 2022. However, my feeling is the UK may be at the beginning of an enduring period of prosperity and economic growth.

A supportive environment ahead?

Such outcomes aren’t guaranteed. However, if things work out as I hope, the general retail environment may be supportive of the firm’s further growth and progress.

Marks and Spencer appears to be one of those multi-channel retailers winning business back from the pure internet operators.

There are risks for shareholders though, as with any business. Perhaps the biggest is that another general economic down-turn may arrive.

If that happens, earnings will likely suffer and take the stock price and dividends lower too. After all, no matter how well-run a business is, the retail sector’s cyclical and there’s no getting around that.

Another risk is that Machin may leave the company at some point and the performance of a new leader will be uncertain.

Nevertheless, the valuation looks fair here, rather than excessive. Set against analysts’ expectations for earnings, the forward-looking price-to-earnings ratio is just over 10 for next year.

On balance, and despite the risks, I see Marks and Spencer as a decent FTSE 100 stock for further research and focus now. My aim would be to pick up a few of the shares to hold for years rather than mere weeks or months.

However, I’d stop short of claiming it’s the best opportunity in the Footsie right now – that’s a tough call to make!

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.

Kevin Godbold has no position in any of the 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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