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3 buys whatever the EU referendum result: AstraZeneca plc, YouGov plc and Cobham plc

So, the EU referendum is finally upon us and many investors may be wondering which stocks are set to perform well given a Remain or Leave victory. Certainly, there are many examples of potential winners given either result, but there are also stocks that could be set to record stunning share price gains whether the UK stays in or quits the EU.

One such is AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN). Its status as an international pharmaceutical company means that it’s more dependent on the ups and downs of the patent cycle rather than the booms and busts of the UK economy. And on the patent front it appears to be making strong progress with its acquisition strategy improving AstraZeneca’s treatment pipeline so that it’s on track to return to positive earnings growth over the medium term.

Furthermore, AstraZeneca is unlikely to slow down its pace of acquisitions, with the company having excellent cash flow, which affords it tremendous financial firepower. For example, in the last three years AstraZeneca’s free cash flow has averaged $4.9bn per annum and so it seems able to afford to spend further in order to beef up its pipeline. And with that cash flow supporting a yield of 5%, the company’s income potential remains upbeat – especially while interest rates are at rock bottom.

Headline grabber

Also offering upbeat future prospects whatever the EU referendum result is YouGov (LSE: YOU). Clearly, it has been in the headlines a lot more than usual recently, with its polling segment offering up predictions of whether Leave or Remain will win the vote. This could provide a boost to YouGov’s earnings in the short run and with the company expected to increase its net profit by 11% this year and by a further 13% next year, it seems to be performing well.

In fact, YouGov has an excellent track record of earnings growth, with its bottom line rising in each of the last five financial years. And with its shares trading on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.6, they seem to offer a wide margin of safety for long-term investors. Therefore, whether the UK leaves or stays in the EU, YouGov seems to be a sound buy.

Contract wins

Meanwhile, aerospace company Cobham (LSE: COB) has today announced that it has been awarded a contract by Airbus to provide satellite communications to single-aisle and long-range aircraft families. The contract could be worth as much as $200m and will see aircraft being fitted with the communications technology from 2018 onwards. It’s the second major contract Cobham has won with Airbus in the last two months.

Clearly, Cobham has experienced a challenging period of late and its bottom line is due to fall by 22% this year. However, with it being geographically highly diversified and more reliant on the global economy than the UK economy, its return to growth next year seems to be less dependent on the outcome of today’s referendum than is the case for a number of its index peers. And with it trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 11.9, it seems to offer a sufficiently wide margin of safety to merit investment at the present time.

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