It’s scary out there at the moment. As I write the FTSE 100 is down by another 6%. This means that the big-cap index has now fallen by more than 30% in 2020. It’s painful today. But for long-term investors, I think the market is providing some golden opportunities to buy quality FTSE 100 dividend stocks at bargain prices.
If I’m right, then it makes more sense than ever to invest in a Stocks and Shares ISA to avoid any future tax bills.
I’m not claiming any special power of foresight. I don’t know when the current crash will end. And I don’t know how long it will take the economy to start recovering from COVID-19.
But I do know that markets always look forward. At some point, investors will start buying shares that look like long-term winners. Today, I want to look at two companies that I’m confident will survive the storm and remain successful.
Built to last
FTSE 100 firm Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) owns food businesses including AB Sugar, Allied Bakeries (Kingsmill, Allinson’s), Twinings and Patak. The group also owns budget fashion retailer Primark.
The ABF share price is down by 12% as I write, after the company warned that compulsory Primark store closures in Europe meant that stores accounting for 30% of the retailer’s sales are now closed. These shops were previously expected to generate £190m of sales over the next four weeks.
UK stores generate 41% of Primark sales, but management said sales here have been falling over the last two weeks. If UK stores end up being forced to close too, which seems likely to me, then Primark will face bigger losses.
The only good news today was that supplies of clothing from the firm’s China factories are now returning to normal.
However, I don’t think shareholders should be too worried.
Firstly, ABF says that sales in its groceries business have been largely unchanged.
Secondly, this business has very strong finances. At the end of February, the group had net cash of £800m and “significant” unused bank facilities.
Shares in Associated British Foods are now trading on about 12 times last year’s earnings, with a dividend yield of 3%. 2020 will be a terrible year, but I’m confident this business will recover. I think FTSE 100 dividend stocks could be a great buy for long-term investors.
Always in demand
My next pick is another company whose products should remain in demand during the coronavirus outbreak and in the future. FTSE 100 member Coca Cola HBC AG (LSE: CCH) is one of the bottling companies used by US giant Coca-Cola Co.
It operates in 28 European countries — broadly speaking, it covers some of Western Europe, all of Eastern Europe and Russia. Although 58% of sales are of typical soft drinks such as Coke, Fanta and Sprite, the group also bottles and sells a wide range of waters, fruit drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages.
The coronavirus outbreak is likely to hit demand from restaurants and tourism. But I’d expect supermarket sales to remain strong. And I’m confident that wider sales will recover once the virus outbreak comes under control.
Like ABF, Coca Cola HBC now trades on about 12 times 2019 earnings, with a dividend yield of about 3%. For long-term investors who can overlook short-term uncertainty, I see this valuation as a good starting point for a successful investment.
It’s ugly out there…
The threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak has spooked global markets, sending stock prices reeling.
And with the Covid-19 virus now beginning to spread beyond of China and Italy, it seems very likely that the bull market we’ve enjoyed over the past decade could finally be coming to an end.
Against such a backdrop of market worry, it’s little wonder that many investors are starting to panic. (After all, nobody likes to see the value of their portfolio fall significantly in such a short space of time.)
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Roland Head has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Associated British Foods. 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.