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With a global recession looming, I’d invest in these top FTSE 100 stocks now

It should come as no surprise that the global macroeconomic outlook seems pretty dismal. After all, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves through economies all over the globe. Supply chains have been disrupted and businesses driven to bankruptcy.

Global recession looming

Evidently, the effect of Covid-19 on the world economy has been damaging. This is illustrated in a recent report by the World Economic Forum, which warns of the potential for a prolonged recession of the global economy. But despite the very gloomy outlook, it’s important for investors not to take fright. There’s no need to franticly sell your holdings or dump the stock market altogether. That’s because riding through the temporary downswings in the market is part and parcel of being a long-term investor. Why not look on the bright side? Investing in a bear market means you can buy quality FTSE 100 stocks at bargain prices!

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What’s more, it’s entirely possible to continue building wealth through poor and uncertain macroeconomic conditions. For example, defensive stocks, which provide essential goods and services, usually maintain stable earnings and pay out consistent dividends regardless of the overall state of the market. With that in mind, here are a few safe-haven FTSE 100 shares that I think will thrive over the long term, come what may in the stock market.

Quality FTSE 100 stocks

Bearing in mind that people must still eat, a supermarket stock such as Tesco seems a fitting place to start. As a result of the market crash, Tesco’s share price has fallen by 11% since mid-February. That’s much less than the 18% drop for the FTSE 100 index as whole. The supermarket titan, which boasts a 30% market share, has seen sales stabilise after the initial rush of panic-buying. More importantly, its supply chains remain in good shape. So long as this continues, I expect Tesco to continue making good progress, as it had been doing prior to the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to its dominant market position and healthy margins.

Consumer goods companies supplying essential household products are a wise investment when an economic downturn strikes. Companies such as Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser own an array of well-established brands that can be found in homes around the world. Many of them are relied upon no matter what the state of the economy is. Reckitt’s first-quarter revenue is testament to this, rising 13% higher than the same period last year. It’s also worth noting that long-term investments in trusted consumer brands are a key strategy underpinning stock market genius Warren Buffett’s success.

Finally, as a well-known defensive sector, I think the tobacco industry warrants a closer look. Demand for these companies’ products isn’t too sensitive to economic conditions and most have attractive dividend yields. British American Tobacco reported a strong start to the year with both volumes and market share increasing. Similarly, Imperial Brands Group saw a boost to revenue and operating profit. Understandably, tobacco shares aren’t for everyone. However, investors looking for safe-haven stocks would do well to consider buying these shares and holding them for the long term.

Struggling to make sense of the prevailing stock market conditions? Take a look at this...

5 steps that can help you to stay calm and invest on – whenever stock markets panic…

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 spread to over 200 countries worldwide, the bull market we’ve enjoyed over the past decade has finally come to an end.

Against such a backdrop of market worry, it’s little wonder that many investors feel panicked. (After all, nobody likes to see the value of their portfolio fall significantly in such a short space of time.)

Fortunately, The Motley Fool is here to help, and you don’t have to face this alone…

Download a FREE copy of our Bear Market Survival Guide today and discover the five steps you can take right now to try and bolster your portfolio… including how you can even aim to turn today’s market uncertainty to your advantage.

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Matthew Dumigan 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 Imperial Brands and Tesco. 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.