The prospects for the FTSE 100 may appear to be downbeat at the present time. The world economy faces a period of uncertainty, with the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China likely to have a detrimental impact on global GDP growth over the coming years.
However, periods of uncertainty can prove to be buying opportunities for long-term investors. In fact, buying while the market is experiencing a pullback can produce higher returns for investors who purchase high-quality stocks at fair prices.
With that in mind, here are two FTSE 100 shares that appear to offer long-term investment potential. Buying them during periods of volatility may allow you to obtain a relatively wide margin of safety.
Alcoholic beverages company Diageo (LSE: DGE) has a strong track record of delivering earnings growth during a variety of market conditions. Demand for its products has historically been relatively resilient even during periods of weak economic growth. This could mean that the stock offers defensive appeal should the world economy’s growth outlook deteriorate.
The company is in the process of making changes to its business model. For example, it is investing in new products that refocus the business on evolving consumer tastes, with cleaner labels and even alcohol-free spirits being among recent developments. Alongside this, Diageo is aiming to reduce costs and become more efficient, with a rationalisation of its portfolio potentially putting it in a stronger position to deliver resilient growth.
Although the stock trades on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of almost 27, its long-term growth prospects across the emerging world suggest that it could outperform the FTSE 100. As such, should its shares come under pressure in the near term, it could be an even more worthwhile purchase than it is today.
Also offering long-term growth potential is diversified FTSE 100 company Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF). Its Primark retail operation has been hugely successful over a long time period, and this trend could continue.
Although consumer confidence in the UK and much of Europe remains weak, Primark’s budget offering could become increasingly popular. Consumers may trade down to cheaper options, which could sustain the retailer’s encouraging growth rate.
Alongside its retail operations, ABF’s other divisions provide it with diversity that reduces overall risk. Although its sugars business has experienced a challenging period, this has been offset to a large degree by growth elsewhere. Therefore, on a risk/reward basis, the stock could offer long-term investment appeal.
With ABF forecast to post net profit growth in the current year of 5%, there are faster-growing shares in the FTSE 100. But, given its geographical and sector diversity, the company’s total returns over the long run could prove to be higher than those of the wider index. As such, now could be the right time to buy a slice of the business.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Diageo. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Associated British Foods and Diageo. 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.