We spend a lot of time here at The Motley Fool talking about FTSE 100 shares that can make you rich. The 2020 stock market crash leaves plenty of these stocks trading at dirt-cheap prices. Our readers love to learn about how they could become millionaire-makers in the years to come by buying such brilliant blue-chips.
Successful investing isn’t just down to what you do buy though. It’s important to identify UK shares that could end up costing you a fortune in the long term. Those that could be hit by a collapsing stock price, the scuppering of a previously-generous dividend policy, and so on. You also need to think about the lost returns you’re likely to have suffered had you instead invested your hard-earned cash in other stocks from the FTSE 100 and beyond.
2 FTSE 100 shares I’d avoid
In years gone by, these FTSE 100 shares could rely on the addictive nature of their products to keep profits rolling in. That made them some of the hottest safe-haven shares in town in uncertain times like these. Smokers would battle hell or high water to keep buying their favourite cigarette brands, economic downturn or not.
I believe that things are likely to prove different for Big Tobacco during this global recession though. This is why neither FTSE 100 firm has seen safe-haven demand for their shares take off in 2020. Worldwide tobacco usage has been on a sharp slide for a decade now, on rising health concerns. It’s also likely the Covid-19 pandemic will encourage even more smokers to stub out the habit, as some point to higher infection rates among tobacco users.
More smoking bans
In fact, Jordan brought in a fresh smoking ban in recent days on the back of a possible correlation. The Middle Eastern country is one of the biggest tobacco consumers in the world, so it could be a serious blow to British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands. The FTSE 100 giants can expect regulatory action (like smoking bans and plain packaging requirements) to be stepped elsewhere up in the months ahead too.
Legislative action like this is proven to have had a devastating impact on tobacco demand. In the UK, stick sales have plummeted by around 20m a month since plain packaging rules were introduced three years ago, according to the Tobacco Control Research Group. This compares with a drop of around 12m a month before the rules came in.
I sold my Imperial Brands shares several years ago on the steady decline of its traditional combustible products. Questionmarks over future demand for their new-age vaping products like e-cigarettes encouraged me to get out too. And my decision has proven to be the correct one, as Imperial Brands’ share price has tanked 60% since I sold out.
This share, along with FTSE 100 rival British American Tobacco, have the capacity to destroy your wealth in the years ahead. So I’d avoid them at all costs, and buy other Footsie shares instead.
Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Imperial Brands. 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.