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5 unexpected coronavirus stocks I’d buy today

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The FTSE 100 index is slowly but surely inching back up to the levels it was at this time last year. But make no mistake, the pandemic has created lasting changes in the stories of individual FTSE 100 stocks. 

While some find themselves in deep distress, others have made headway. Among those that have succeeded through 2020 are the most obvious ones. 

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The successful vaccine developer, AstraZeneca is one, whose share price touched all-time highs during the year before softening recently. Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of a Covid-19 drug, is another one. Yet another is Ocado, the online retailer that has seen a sharp jump in sales, and Just Eat Takeaway, the food delivery app, which just released a stellar trading update. 

But there are others too.

They might not always appear to be positioned for gains, but scratch the surface and it’s amply clear that they have been able to make the most of 2020 for a reason. The reason is the growth of their industries in the pandemic, making them unexpected gainers. 

Here are five of them.

#1. Bunzl: coronavirus stock providing protective equipment

This FTSE 100 distribution and services company operates across six segments, including safety, cleaning and hygiene, and healthcare. As a result, it has managed gains in the past year because of increased sales of products like gloves, masks, sanitisers, and disinfectants even while other segments suffered. 

As things go back to normal, other segments should pick up too while I reckon demand for coronavirus related products won’t fall all the way back to pre-Covid-19 days. 

#2. Kingfisher: home improvement boom

Apparently many had it in us to become DIY enthusiasts in a lockdown. Who knew?

So much so, that the FTSE 100 home improvement products retailer, Kingfisher, saw its share price reach multi-year highs last year. The owner of B&Q and Screwfix wasn’t doing badly even earlier, and now it’s poised to do even better.

#3. Rentokil Initial: hygiene services gain ground

If you thought Rentokil Initial was only a pest control provider, think again. It also provides hygiene services, which may well have seen an upward shift in demand for a long time to come because of the coronavirus. No surprises that its share price reached all-time highs in 2020, then. 

#4. Segro: warehousing gains for the FTSE 100 stock

The FTSE 100 real estate investment trust gained even while property developers struggled in 2020. The reason wasn’t hard to guess. It focuses on warehousing properties, which have benefited as online shopping became the new norm. 

#5.  Smurfit Kappa: deliveries demand packaging

If demand for warehousing is one fallout of the online shopping boom, demand for packaging is another. And that’s where Smurfit Kappa comes in. Demand for its paper-based packaging products is only likely to grow over time, much like its share price has over 2020.

Similar to these, there are other FTSE 100 stocks I’d consider buying. In fact I already have bought some of them!

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Manika Premsingh owns shares of AstraZeneca, Ocado Group, and Rentokil Initial. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Just Eat N.V. 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.