Buying UK shares after the stock market crash may prove to be a risky move in the short run. After all, risks facing the world economy’s future continue to be elevated.
However, a number of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 stocks appear to offer defensive characteristics. That could help them outperform in a volatile wider stock market.
Here are two prime examples of such companies. They could be worth buying today with £5,000, or any other amount, in a Stocks and Shares ISA on a long-term view.
Long-term growth potential
While the stock market has declined in 2020, not all UK shares have done likewise. For example, the AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) stock price has gained 11% since the start of the year. Its first quarter update highlighted its growth potential. Years of investment in its pipeline contributed to sales growth of 17% and a rise in core earnings of 21%.
Looking ahead, the company’s defensive business model could become more attractive among investors who are concerned about the economy’s prospects. The business is less reliant on the macroeconomic outlook than many of its FTSE 100 peers. This could mean it’s able to command a rising valuation – especially as its financial performance improves.
Certainly, AstraZeneca’s price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of around 26 currently places it among the more expensive UK shares available. However, with its bottom line forecast to rise by 26% in the next financial year, it could offer further capital growth potential.
As such, now could be the right time to buy a slice of it in a Stocks and Shares ISA to benefit from its resilient business model and long-term growth prospects.
An income opportunity among UK shares
Another FTSE 100 stock that could offer defensive appeal versus other UK shares is Pennon (LSE: PNN). The utility company’s share price has risen by 6% in 2020. This is significantly higher than the 20% decline among blue-chip shares over the same time period.
The business recently reported a solid financial performance. Although there are regulatory risks facing its future, as well as scope for bad debts caused by a weak economic outlook, its financial outlook appears to be relatively robust. And, with the sale of its Viridor recycling business having been completed, it’s in a position to potentially reduce debt levels to strengthen its financial position.
With Pennon offering a dividend yield of around 3.5%, it’s not among the highest-yielding UK shares available to purchase at present. However, its track record of delivering rising dividends, and the robust nature of its shareholder payouts relative to other FTSE 100 stocks, mean that it could offer income investing appeal. This could boost its share price prospects.
It may also allow it to outperform other large-cap shares during what may prove to be an uncertain period for the stock market.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of AstraZeneca. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Pennon Group. 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.