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Want to make a million and retire rich? This is the first FTSE 100 stock I’d buy

A stock market crash is a great opportunity to make a million for your retirement. Everywhere you look, top FTSE 100 stocks are selling at discounted prices.

While some have seen their business plans destroyed by the Covid-19 meltdown, others should muddle through in reasonable shape. Consumer goods giant Unilever (LSE: ULVR) looks like being one of the latter, and I’d buy it at today’s reduced valuation.

Unilever has long been a reliable source of rising dividend income and share price growth. The FTSE 100 group is a relatively defensive stock because product sales tend to hold up, even in recessions. It, nonetheless, suffered a beating during the stock market crash. That makes it a relative bargain today.

Make a million with the FTSE 100

Investors appreciate Unilever because it specialises in selling simple, everyday items that consumers trust and buy all over the world. Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Domestos, Hellman’s, Knor, Liptons, Lux, Magnum, Q-tips are just some of its brands. There are many, many more.

Almost everybody will have several Unilever products in their kitchens or bathrooms. You pop them into your shopping basket without a second thought, but miss them when you don’t have them.

Despite that, the Unilever share price crashed 20% in March, broadly in line with the rest of the FTSE 100 index. Although it has since picked up, it’s still trading around 12% down from its mid-January highs.

That makes Unilever a bargain, relative to its own premium standards. Today, it trades at almost exactly 18 times earnings. Believe me, that rarely happens. Before the crisis, the FTSE 100 stalwart was typically trading around 24 times. If you want to buy cut-price stocks to build a million-pound portfolio, you should consider taking advantage of buying opportunities like this one.

I’d buy the Unilever share price

Unilever benefited from the early state of the Covid-19 crisis, as people rushed out to buy hand sanitisers, bleach and surface-cleaning products. At the same time, it was hit by a decline in ice cream sales, as people stayed in. As the lockdown eases, these two trends will probably go into reverse. That’s the beauty of product diversification.

If you want to make a million from the FTSE 100, you have to be patient. Unilever’s stock may not instantly rebound. Sales could struggle as consumers feel poorer, especially those who have lost their jobs. The impact will become more intense when government furlough schemes expire.

However, the FTSE 100 giant’s size and strength should see it through. One mark of its solidity is that management is standing by its dividend. Unilever currently yields 3.7%, with cover of 1.5. Given the dividend havoc we’ve seen elsewhere, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of that.

I’d buy Unilever at any time. I’d definitely buy it today, now it’s yours for a reduced valuation. You could build a million-pound portfolio around it.

Here are some more top shares to consider.

5 Stocks For Trying To Build Wealth After 50

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Harvey Jones has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Unilever. 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.