FTSE 100 stocks have been on the rack for three weeks now. It’s been painful to watch. However, there’s a silver lining. This stock market crash provides a rare opportunity for long-term investors to buy into high-quality companies at prices that were unthinkable just a few weeks ago.
Over the past year or so, I’ve looked at plenty of blue-chip businesses I felt had become too expensive. This is always likely to happen after a long bull-run, if you’re using disciplined fundamental valuation in your investing. However, with discounts of up to 36%, here are five high-quality FTSE 100 stocks I think have now become unmissable buys.
I last wrote about accounting software giant Sage (LSE: SGE) after its annual results in November. The scale of the business is attractive. I also believe it’s maintaining a competitive advantage, albeit at the cost of somewhat lower revenue growth and margins than it was targeting a few years ago.
Back in November, the shares were trading at 707p, with the P/E around 25. I wrote: “I believe the valuation is too high for the level of growth and margins it’s likely to offer going forward in an increasingly competitive market. At a sub-20 earnings multiple I might be interested, but at around 25 I’ll continue to avoid it.”
Sage’s share price ended Thursday at 560p. This is 21% below the price in November, and 29% down from the immediate pre-crash price on 21 February. It’s now trading at 19.7 times trailing earnings, and at a forward 12-month P/E of 18.2. With a prospective 3.2% dividend yield just for good measure, I’m happy to rate Sage a ‘buy’ today.
FTSE 100 stocks Rightmove, Hargreaves Lansdown, Experian and Compass are the other four quality blue-chip businesses I believe have become very buyable. Like Sage, they all have pre-eminent positions in their markets.
Rightmove has established itself as the place to go for anyone wanting to sell or let a UK property and, likewise, anyone wanting to buy or rent. Its shares having dropped 25% to 516p in this market crash. I think a forward P/E of 23.5 and modest dividend yield of 1.5% are great value for such a dominant business in its sector.
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK’s number one ‘investment supermarket’ for private investors. After falling 29% to 1,211p, I see this as another high-quality FTSE 100 stock that’s become very attractively priced. The forward P/E is 20, and the prospective dividend yield is a tasty 4%.
Experian, the world’s leading credit reference agency, and Compass, the world’s largest contract caterer, were trading at P/Es of near 30 and 25 respectively, when I wrote about them last summer. I felt both stocks were too richly valued to buy at that time.
Experian’s shares have fallen 27% in this stock market crash. They now trade at a forward P/E of 23.5, with a prospective 2% dividend yield. That’s highly attractive, in my book.
Compass’s shares have seen the biggest fall among these five high-quality FTSE 100 stocks. They’re down 36% at 1,241p. This global caterer has exposure to airports and schools, and thus to the impact of Covid-19. However, I think this is more than offset by a forward P/E of 13.6 and a 3.6% dividend yield.
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G A Chester has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Compass Group, Experian, Hargreaves Lansdown, Rightmove, and Sage 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.