The stock market crash has left many FTSE 100 stocks trading at valuations we haven’t seen for years.
Despite recent falls, all of the companies I’m going to look at today have outperformed the FTSE 100 over the last 10 years. I’m confident that this winning performance is likely to continue.
If you are thinking of investing in today’s uncertain market, I’d strongly suggest that you consider using a tax-free Stocks and Shares ISA. It’s not too late to deposit some cash before the 5 April deadline.
A class act
FTSE 100 consumer goods group Unilever (LSE: ULVR) is focusing its efforts on supporting staff and the wider community during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Unilever said it would contribute €100m to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, through donations of soap, sanitiser, and cleaning products.
The company has also allocated €500m to provide early invoice payments for suppliers and credit for small retailers.
Employees and contractors haven’t been forgotten either – they will be protected from “sudden drops in pay” for up to three months.
Unilever can afford these measures because its portfolio of brands such as Dove and Knorr sell at high profit margins and support strong cash generation. In 2019, the group reported an operating profit margin of nearly 17%, well above average for the FTSE 100.
I’ve previously said that I’d buy Unilever if the stock fell to a level where it provided a 4% dividend yield. We’re at that level now. I’m hoping to be able to buy in the coming weeks.
A FTSE 100 growth star?
Another market-leading business that’s showing support for its customers is Rightmove (LSE: RMV). The UK’s leading property listing website will offer a 75% discount to all listing customers for the next four months.
Of course, Rightmove can afford to be generous. In 2019, it was the most profitable company in the FTSE 100 with an operating margin of almost 74%.
However, management haven’t wasted this advantage. The discounts being offered to customers are expected to result in £65m to £75m of lost revenue. But the company can afford to take this hit because it has no debt and ended last year with £36m of surplus cash.
I believe that Rightmove – like Unilever – has a sustainable business model and a strong financial position. I reckon that owning stocks like this takes the stress out of investing. Such firms can normally survive difficult periods without suffering any financial distress.
An essential service for many businesses
The final company I want to look at is accounting software provider The Sage Group (LSE: SGE). Like the other two stocks, this tech stock has also outperformed the FTSE 100 over the last decade. The FTSE is at roughly the same level as 10 years ago, but the Sage share price has risen by 138% since 2010.
Like Rightmove and Unilever, Sage is highly profitable. The group had an operating margin of about 20% last year. The shift from desktop software to online services has been challenging. But I believe Sage has now won the battle and is well-positioned for long-term growth in this market.
Sage stock rarely looks cheap and the shares still trade on 20 times forecast earnings. But the dividend yield has risen to 3% and looks safe to me. I see this as a good chance to buy the shares for a long-term portfolio.
Roland Head has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended 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.