As the great Brexit problem swells and swells and threatens to block out the sun, it’s understandable many of us long simply to sit in a dark cupboard until the protracted saga is truly over and done with.
It’s an issue that’s particularly stressful for investors with a high exposure to the UK economy and who are desperate for government to strike a deal with our European Union partners. Theresa May’s latest failure to get her Withdrawal Agreement passed by the Commons last night led European Commission president Donald Tusk to proclaim that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit has “significantly increased.”
We’re just a short time away from the planned EU departure date of March 29 and, rather shockingly, the prospect of a potentially-ruinous Brexit remains very much in play. With this in mind, it’s time to shop smart and I believe that buying these FTSE 100 stocks is a great way to help protect yourself.
Healthcare is one of the great lifeboats in troubled times and for this reason AstraZeneca is a great pick, in my opinion. Of course this pharma giant’s products are in high demand in the UK, but this market represents just a fraction of its total global profits. Irrespective of any geographical split though, it’s not as if we can expect sales of AstraZeneca’s medicines to fall off a cliff, either, even in the event of an economically-destructive Brexit, given the essential role they have in all of our lives.
I’d extend the same courtesy to Smith & Nephew, too. It could be argued that this company’s product suite of artificial joints and limbs are not as indispensable for the broader population as most of the medicines that AstraZeneca churns out. Like its FTSE 100 colleague though, Smith & Nephew can be confident that its pan-global presence can take the sting out of any sales slump in its home market.
Indeed, I’ve lauded the blue-chip’s rising might in emerging markets, like China in particular, and reckon these territories should power profits to the stars in the future.
The gold standard
The ultimate safe-haven asset in troubled economic and political times, getting exposure to gold could also prove a good idea as the UK contorts under the pressure of Brexit.
Latest data from retailer The Pure Gold Company, detailing a 119% surge in physical bars and coins (versus the 2019 average) over the past 24 hours, illustrates this point perfectly. And investor interest is only likely to perk up as the country moves closer to the no-deal trapdoor.
A perfect way to play this theme? Buying dedicated gold and silver Fresnillo, of course.
My final selection is National Grid. This Footsie firm has some exposure to the US but I don’t think it needs to worry about the possibility of tougher trading conditions in its domestic marketplace.
It’s charged with keeping the lights on whatever economic condition the country is in, and this protects it from the sort of earnings turbulence that many other UK-focussed companies face in the near term and beyond. This means that efforts to build its asset base on these shores should still create plenty of upside, regardless of how Brexit turns out.
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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AstraZeneca and Fresnillo. 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.