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Stock market crash: I’d buy this cheap FTSE 100 stock to retire early

It’s too early to claim that 2020’s stock market crash is over. Global Covid-19 infections are still rising, and uncertainty over the scale and timing of lockdown easing the world over persists. It wouldn’t take much for the FTSE 100 to sink again.

That doesn’t mean that stock investors should stop adding to their investment portfolios, though. Clearly all of us need to be more careful with how we use our capital following the coronavirus outbreak. Many companies face severe profits declines over the next couple of years and extreme pressure on their balance sheets. The pandemic has changed the long-term outlook for plenty of businesses too, for better and for worse.

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Recovering from the crash

One FTSE 100 share I think should continue to recover from the recent stock market crash is Prudential (LSE: PRU). The life insurance giant has gained more than 40% in value since hitting multi-year troughs on March 18. This compares to the 14% rise recorded by the broader blue-chip index.

It has no doubt gained popularity among income chasers in the wake of many dividend cuts from other Footsie-quoted companies. The prospect of chunky near-term payouts isn’t the reason I think The Pru is a top large-cap to buy today though. Instead it is the prospect of surging business in Asia once the Covid-19-related economic earthquake subsides which makes it such a tantalising prospect.

Startling market growth

A recent study from McKinsey & Company illustrates just how big the opportunity for the FTSE 100 share is for this new decade and beyond. Its most recent figures show that the life insurance market in emerging regions like Asia grew between 12% and 15% between 2015 and 2017. This compares with the 2% rise recorded that the broader global sector saw over the same period.

And the institution reckons life insurance demand in these developing regions should keep going from strength to strength. McKinsey reckons that Asia-Pacific’s total embedded value stands at around $1.1trn. What’s more, it estimates that the total value of new business in the region stands at $90bn each year.

A Footsie firecracker

Clearly a blend of exploding population growth and rising income levels provides the likes of Prudential with ample profits-making opportunities in the years ahead. And the FTSE 100 firm is making the most of it by carefully tailoring its products to these fast-growing regions, investing in its digital operations, and doubling-down on key markets like China, Indonesia and India.

Despite recent price gains Prudential changes hands on a forward P/E ratio of just 7.3 times. Such a reading fails to recognise the insurer’s mighty long-term profits potential, in my opinion. Marry this up with a bulky 3.3% dividend yield for 2020, and I reckon this is one brilliant Footsie share to buy following recent share market weakness.

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Royston Wild owns shares of Prudential. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Prudential. 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.