Past performances of the FTSE 100 shows that, like any asset, the best time to buy shares has been during periods of decline, such as those following a market crash.
The challenge in implementing that strategy is that risks are often at their highest level during such periods. As such, many investors may seek other assets that are outperforming equities in the short run, such as gold and Bitcoin.
However, over the long run, a diverse portfolio of FTSE 100 shares could offer a higher relative return. Especially when purchased in a tax-efficient account such as an ISA.
FTSE 100 buying opportunities
The track record of the FTSE 100 includes a number of market crashes similar to the one seen earlier this year. Risks to economic growth can quickly cause investor sentiment to weaken, which has the potential to rapidly cause a decline in stock prices.
Clearly, it’s only afterwards that investors can pinpoint the lowest price level during such declines. However, buying shares while risks are high has historically been a sound means of accessing low valuations.
Since the FTSE 100 has an excellent track record of recovery, buying companies while they trade at low prices can produce relatively high returns. The index has always recovered from its various crashes, corrections, and bear markets to produce new record highs. Therefore, a strategy that seeks to use the market’s cyclicality to your advantage could prove to be highly effective in the long run.
One of the main advantages of investing in FTSE 100 shares is the capacity to diversify. Although most stocks trade in line with the wider market in the short run, over the long run each company offers different return and risk profiles.
For example, utility companies are likely to experience a different share price trajectory than airline stocks over the coming years. But both could be worth holding in a diverse portfolio of FTSE 100 shares.
Therefore, it’s possible to build a portfolio with low company-specific risk, as well as an attractive return outlook over the long run. Certainly, a portfolio of large-cap shares may experience a challenging short-term period due to economic risks. But, over the long run, it can produce attractive returns.
Considering other options
Clearly, Bitcoin’s recent doubling in price and gold’s surge towards a record high are likely to cause many investors to consider purchasing them.
However, the FTSE 100 has a long track record of recovery that means it could deliver higher returns than the precious metal as investor sentiment improves. And, with Bitcoin having an uncertain future as well as a short track record, it appears to be a very high-risk asset. Certainly relative to a diverse portfolio of FTSE 100 shares that are likely to recover over the coming years.
Peter Stephens has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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.