With the FTSE 100 index down by 20% in the year to date, I believe now could be a great opportunity for investors to buy shares.
In a turbulent market, having a long-term outlook is usually beneficial. This should enable the investor to ride out fluctuations in the market and benefit from the economy’s likely recovery.
Here is a company I would buy and hold for the long term.
HSBC’s (LSE: HSBA) share price has taken a pounding this year, dropping by 37%. In fact, its poor run extends further, with a 40% slump in the past five years.
Times have been challenging for the bank. Brexit, ultra-low interest rates and Covid-19 have made lending extremely difficult. Many businesses — some of which HSBC has lent money to — are likely to go bankrupt. Recently, the bank set aside $3bn for bad loans.
A problem for FTSE 100 investors?
Following discussions with the Bank of England and the regulator, HSBC has also cancelled its dividend payments. This is a measure that many other FTSE 100 companies have taken. Management will be reviewing the dividend policy at the end of 2020. For some, this might be a sticking point as HSBC’s generous dividend was a major pull for FTSE 100 income investors.
Despite cost-cutting measures, in Q1 the bank reported profit before tax fell by 48% to $3.2bn when compared to the same period in 2019. The bank foresees worsening global economic conditions in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. To mitigate a predicted reduction in turnover, HSBC has looked to slash costs further.
A restructuring plan has been outlined, with the bank likely to redirect more resources to Asia. The plans might include the sale of HSBC’s US business, and possibly even its French retail network. My Foolish colleague Karl Loomes thinks this makes sense and could lead to a more efficient company. I am inclined to agree with him.
HSBC also has a large investment banking division, unlike some of its FTSE 100 rivals. In a turbulent market, the bank might see an increase in trading activity, which could offset some of the declining revenue in other areas of the business.
The fall in its share price means that the stock has a price-to-earnings ratio of 16. This might indicate that the company’s shares are trading at a price below intrinsic value.
The short term will likely be rocky for shareholders, and the true economic damage caused by the coronavirus remains unknown. No one is sure how long it will take for the economy to fully recover. However, I feel sure that in the future things will slowly go back to normal. We are already seeing signs of this, with some retail stores reopening. In time, customers and businesses will regain lost confidence. When the tide turns, a leaner HSBC — and its shareholders — will hopefully benefit.
I think HSBC’s low share price could be a great buy for a long-term FTSE 100 value investor.
T Sligo has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended HSBC Holdings. 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.