It didn’t take long for market sentiment to sour again. The FTSE 100, up by triple-digits earlier on Tuesday, has dived in afternoon trading and is now essentially flat from last night’s close.
Share markets this week fell at their sharpest rate since the 2008/09 global financial meltdown. It’ll take a serious improvement in the coronavirus crisis to mend battered confidence.
That said, there are many brilliant shares from the FTSE 100 alone that are worthy of serious attention at recent prices. I recently said why I’d happily load up on easyJet shares at current prices. Though it’s not the only blue-chip that looks far too cheap right now.
Let’s consider Compass Group (LSE: CPG), for example. The share price has dropped another 2.9% on Tuesday. Thus the company carries a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio far below its chubby historical premiums, at 16.2 times.
In addition, predictions that Compass will keep its ultra-progressive dividend policy rolling means a chunky, inflation-beating 3% dividend yield for 2020.
Food producers and suppliers have always proved to be one of those popular safe-havens in times like these. People always need to eat regardless of broader economic, political and social upheaval, right? Yet this particular FTSE 100 stock has plummeted along with the broader market and this afternoon dropped to 14-month troughs.
This provides a brilliant dip-buying opportunity for long-term investors, in my opinion. The global food service market is worth £200bn yet Compass — which serves nearly 6bn meals each and every year — commands just 10% of this. Clearly there is much more scope to grow, and most recent financials showed that the business is making a good fist of this.
Still looking good
The Footsie firm saw organic revenues leap 5.3% in the three months to December, it said last month. Sales were flattish but strength in its core North American territory kept the group total moving higher. This region generates almost two-thirds of group income.
Organic revenues here leapt 7.5% from the same 2019 period thanks to “particularly strong growth in Business & Industry, Healthcare and Education,” it said. But this was not the only cause for celebration. Compass’s global footprint also comprises key emerging markets, and thanks in large part to robust custom in Latin America, organic sales under the ‘Rest of World’ umbrella rose by a healthy 4.7%.
Compass isn’t immune to difficult economic conditions. Indeed, its recent troubles in Europe have been attributed to lower demand from the Business & Industry category. Still, the long-term sales outlook remains compelling and the Surrey company is building on this through steady acquisitions.
It spent £40m in that latest three-month period and said that “there continues to be a pipeline of opportunities across the group.” And in the meantime, its focus on the defensive food supply market should help it to weather the worst of the current turbulence in the global economy. I reckon there’s plenty of upside to be had at current prices.
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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Compass Group. 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.