3 firms leading the flight to quality

With UK-facing cyclical shares weak and investors clamouring for the exit on anything to do with commercial property, where will all the money go next?

Maybe we’ll see a dash for cash? That seems unlikely given the pitifully low interest available with many savings accounts. In any case, I reckon many investors cashed up before the UK referendum and will likely be looking to allocate their capital again now the result is in. So, a dash for cash has probably been and gone.

A sustained flight to quality

What seems more likely is a sustained flight to quality. We can find quality in internationally-trading, dividend-paying multinationals. That’s why the shares of such firms have been going up in recent days and, despite the full-looking valuations of many such companies, I reckon the move could continue for some time.

One-time hedge fund manager Richard Farleigh says in his book Taming The Lion that markets often move much further than we think possible, so which upward trends might we hop on among these quality movers? I’d like to throw in for your consideration Diageo (LSE: DGE), Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD) and Reckitt Benckiser Group (LSE: RB).

Improving performance

City analysts following premium drinks supplier Diageo expect earnings to rise 13% for the year to June 2017. The firm’s chief executive told us in January that the company is a stronger, more competitive business than it used to be. He reckons trading conditions are challenging in some markets, but Diageo’s brands and operational tactics are resilient.

I reckon such qualities will help Diageo navigate any Brexit fallout and continue to deliver what the chief describes as “improved, sustained performance.” The firm’s business is global, which dilutes the economic ripples spreading from Britain. On top of that, the company’s top-branded alcoholic drinks carry all the attributes of cash-generating consumer goods with the added ‘lock-in’ of habit — no matter how tough things become, people rarely forego their daily tipple.

On-going growth potential

Back in May, communications specialist Vodafone revealed it has completed its infrastructure investment programme Project Spring. The firm’s chief executive reckons the investment programme transformed the quality of Vodafone’s technology, which enhances the customer experience. The company hopes to expand its enterprise services on the back of that.

City analysts predict a 29% hike in earnings for year to March 2017 and 17% the year after that, which demonstrates Vodafone’s on-going growth potential.

Steady progress

There was no sign of any stress back in April when Reckitt Benckiser delivered its first quarter results. The chief executive made the usual reference to “challenging markets” as many firms seem to do, but went on to say that the company was seeing growth across both developed and developing markets.

Cash-generating consumer brands such as Vanish, Dettol, Scholl and Nurofen will likely keep the company making steady progress despite the Brexit to come. City analysts expect progress too, predicting earnings will grow 9% this year and 10% during 2017.

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Kevin Godbold has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Diageo and Reckitt Benckiser. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.