Forget Brexit! 3 British blue chips set to thrive

Sure, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) may have recovered from much of the damage endured in the wake of Britain’s ‘exit’ vote in June’s EU referendum. Indeed, the bourse surged comfortably above the 6,500-point marker, and even took in 11-month highs just last week.

But rather than a reflection of improving sentiment towards Britain’s economic outlook, the surge in Britain’s blue chips is a reflection of investors’ desire for companies with terrific international exposure.

I believe many of these companies have room to keep on surging, and have locked-onto three FTSE 100 stars in particular: household goods maker Unilever (LSE: ULVR), fashion star Burberry (LSE: BRBY), and cigarette manufacturer Imperial Brands (LSE: IMB).

Globetrotting greats

Unilever’s vast exposure to emerging markets in particular makes it a winner, in my opinion, with rising wealth levels in these regions likely to deliver strong returns in the years ahead.

The company sources 58% of total sales from the likes of Asia and Latin America, and growing demand here continues to drive Unilever’s top line — underlying sales growth of 8.3% during January-March sent group revenues 4.7% higher.

Imperial Brands is also reaping the fruits of its pan-global presence, and in particular its beefed-up presence in North America following the acquisition of Lorillard Tobacco Company in 2015. Furthermore, Imperial Brands can also rely on tobacco’s evergreen popularity in developing regions to keep driving sales.

Burberry isn’t enjoying the same sort of success as its big-cap peers. Instead, the designer brand has seen sales slip in recent times thanks to pressure in Hong Kong and Macau. However, it’s still enjoying terrific growth in all other destinations and still expects Chinese customers to drive earnings in the years ahead.

Brand brilliance

Burberry naturally boasts a reputation for quality and style like few other UK firms. And while this quality may not be enough to power revenues at the moment — the result of current macroeconomic pressures on luxury goods demand — the business remains a byword for chic.

And this, combined with a renewed focus on product innovation, should help Burberry’s high-priced goods fly off the shelves once spending power in Asia recovers.

The products wheeled out by Imperial Brands and Unilever also have terrific brand power, and the relative cheapness of their products is allowing them to hurdle the problems currently experienced by Burberry.

Imperial saw volumes of ‘Growth Brands’ like Davidoff and JPS leap 4.7% during October-March thanks to fresh market share grabs. And the firm’s on-going drive to shutter scores of underperforming local brands in favour of investment in these revenues-driving cartons should keep this momentum rolling.

Meanwhile, Unilever can look to a wide variety of labels from Surf detergent to Magnum ice cream to keep delivering sales growth.

Indeed, the London firm can confidently lift prices regardless of the broader economic climate. And I believe the firm’s heavy investment in these brands, epitomised by its recently-launched TRESemmé Reverse System pre-wash conditioner, helps maintain the interest of shoppers the world over.

Make a fortune while others fidget

In short, there are plenty of reasons to remain bullish on the UK stock market, even if the risks have just leapt a notch or several.

But as I've explained, times of great macroeconomic uncertainty like these mean that picking the 'right' stock can be more difficult than usual.

So the Motley Fool's analysts have been busy scouring the FTSE 250 to dig out what they believe is one of the best growth stocks money can buy.

Click here to enjoy this exclusive wealth report. It's 100% free and can be delivered direct to your inbox.

Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Burberry. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.