In recent weeks, the market has recovered rapidly from its slump earlier in the year. However, while investor sentiment seems to have improved dramatically since March, there is still a genuine risk that a second stock market crash could be on the horizon later in the year.
Indeed, there are many risks to the market recovery on the horizon and even in recent days we’ve seen markets falling again.
A second wave of coronavirus, a sluggish economic recovery or a wave bankruptcies as companies struggle under the burden of debt built up during the crisis, could send investor sentiment plunging once again and cause yet another stock market crash this year.
As such, now may be an excellent time to prepare for a second stock market crash. And there’s one stock in particular that could help investors weather the storm, I feel.
Stock market crash round two
Personal Assets Trust (LSE: PNL) invests with the single goal of protecting and growing investors’ capital over the long term.
It has accomplished this aim in 2020. Shares in the investment trust have gained 4% year-to-date. That’s compared to a loss of 16% for the FTSE 100 in the stock market crash.
The performance of the trust is just as impressive over the long run. Over the past five years, it has returned 27% excluding dividends. That’s compared to a loss of 7% for the FTSE 100 over the same period excluding dividends.
This track record suggests Personal Assets could help protect investors’ wealth if a second stock market crash arrives.
The trust’s secret is its asset allocation. Most of the portfolio is invested in inflation-linked bonds. These provide a steady above inflation return over the long run. Gold, a great asset to own in any stock market crash, also makes up a large percentage of the portfolio.
Equities also feature in Personal Assets’ portfolio. Stock make up about 44% of assets and the investment company is very strict about choosing companies to fit into this investment portfolio. It will only own high-quality, defensive businesses with strong balance sheets that should continue to benefit from cyclical tailwinds. Microsoft, Nestlé, and Unilever are currently its largest holdings.
The large allocation towards bonds may mean that the trust does not perform as well as equity indexes such as the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 over the long term. However, it also means that the trust does not suffer as much as these indexes in the event of a stock market crash. In times of uncertainty, this sort of protection is invaluable.
As it is impossible to tell what the future holds for the stock market, and if there will be a second stock market crash in 2020, owning Personal Assets as part of a diversified portfolio could be a sensible financial decision. Its extensive positive track record also suggests that the fund may help you grow your financial nest egg over the long run.
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Rupert Hargreaves owns shares in the Personal Assets Trust and Unilever. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Microsoft and Unilever and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. 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.