The FTSE 100’s 18% decline since the start of the year may cause some investors to focus their capital on other assets, such as Bitcoin and gold.
While they may offer superior return prospects in the near term due to recent trends, the stock market has a long history of recovery. Furthermore, gold’s high price and Bitcoin’s lack of fundamentals may make them relatively unattractive.
Therefore, buying a diverse range of stocks such as the two companies discussed below could be a shrewd means of improving your financial future, and boosting your chances of retiring early.
FTSE 100 retailer Next
FTSE 100 retailers such as Next (LSE: NXT) have endured unprecedented challenges so far in 2020. Coronavirus has caused the company’s sales to plummet, although its recent update suggested that it has the financial means to survive what could be a very challenging period for the sector.
In fact, the business forecasts that even in its worst-case scenario of a 40% reduction in sales this year, it will remain profitable and in a position to reduce debt levels. This suggests that it could even grow market share at the expense of rivals that do not have the same balance sheet strength as Next.
Furthermore, the company has invested heavily in its online operations in recent years. It has strengthened its supply chain, and its online retail platform could be a means of accessing changing consumer trends as a higher proportion of shoppers use e-commerce facilities.
While the Next share price may come under pressure due to weak consumer sentiment, it appears to offer long-term recovery potential that could allow it to outperform the FTSE 100 in the coming years.
Another FTSE 100 share that could prove to be attractive on a long-term basis at the present time is RBS (LSE: RBS). The bank faces a very difficult short-term operating outlook, with rising unemployment, weak consumer confidence and political risks such as Brexit likely to weigh on investor sentiment in the coming months.
This has been reflected in its share price decline of 48% since the start of the year, with low interest rates likely to mean that its profitability comes under further pressure in the near term.
However, the bank’s recent quarterly update highlighted its improved financial strength. This could help it to overcome a challenging operating environment, while its medium-term plans to cut costs may lead to a more efficient and leaner business.
With RBS having recently traded at its lowest level since the financial crisis, it could offer a wide margin of safety that factors in the risks facing the FTSE 100 banking sector. While it is a relatively risky investment, it could nevertheless prove to be a profitable one over the coming years as the economy’s performance improves.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of Next. 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.