Three top stocks set to thrive after the turmoil

Professional investor Ed Wielechowski of the Odyssean Investment Trust picks three companies that should benefit from the current market situation.

“May you live in interesting times.” This apocryphal Chinese curse springs to mind when looking at today’s equity markets. The initial wave of the Covid-19 virus may have peaked in Europe and the US, but the longer-term trajectory of the disease and its economic impact remain highly uncertain. Throw in geopolitical tension between China and the US and a Brexit deal still to be agreed, and “interesting” seems an understatement.

Investing against such a backdrop can be a challenge, but it also offers opportunities. At Odyssean we aim to exploit these by retaining a focus on our core philosophy – backing high-quality businesses where engagement can improve returns – and identifying companies that benefit from the current market situation.

Finding oversold first-rate cyclicals 

When cyclicals sell off, investors need to judge the timing of a rebound and appropriate entry valuations. These are not easy questions to answer. We take comfort in backing market leaders at valuations supported by significant real assets. Elementis (LSE: ELM) fits this bill. 

The company is a leading producer of speciality chemicals sold into a broad range of industrial and personal-care end markets. The group enjoys strong market positions with access to unique mineral assets underpinning differentiated, premium products. 

The group should benefit from a cyclical recovery in demand after the virus, while synergies from recent mergers and acquisitions and targeted cost savings of $15m will help too. The shares trade on a price/book ratio of just 0.5 compared with a five-year average of 1.8, suggesting significant value.

Profiting from uncertainty

We also seek out companies that should emerge as winners from the current market disruption. Looking beyond the obvious, direct winners (such as online retail) we like are firms we think capable of gaining market share in uncertain times. Volution (LSE: FAN) falls into this category.

Volution is a leader in domestic and commercial ventilation equipment. The company has leading positions across the UK, Europe and Australasia in a growing market. Energy-efficiency standards are driving increased ventilation spend per property. 

As a well-capitalised, larger player in a fragmented market, Volution should benefit from turbulence in the sector. Its ability to maintain supply and inventory should allow it to gain market share and its access to capital means it could buy up distressed smaller players. 

Growth stocks that can move up a gear

Finally, high-quality businesses in growth markets led by capable managers that could improve overall performance are highly appealing, but rare, investment opportunities. SDL (LSE: SDL) is an example.

It is a leading global provider of translations services and related software tools. The company serves blue-chip corporate clients in a market growing at a mid-single digit rate as content volumes grow exponentially. 

SDL boasts a high level of recurring sales, plenty of scope for improving margins, a record of accretive bolt-on acquisitions, a strong management team and a healthy balance sheet. It’s a long-term story we would like whatever the market conditions.

Recommended

Share tips of the week
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
19 Feb 2021
Get decades of growth at a discount with this healthcare investment trust
Investment trusts

Get decades of growth at a discount with this healthcare investment trust

Healthcare is set for strong long-term expansion but looks cheap. That makes this investment trust worth buying, says Max King.
19 Apr 2021
Share tips of the week
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
16 Apr 2021
Four investment trusts for income investors to buy now
Investment trusts

Four investment trusts for income investors to buy now

Some high-yielding listed lending funds have come through the crisis with flying colours. David Stevenson picks four of the best.
12 Apr 2021

Most Popular

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?
Bitcoin

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?

Dogecoin – a cryptocurrency created as a joke – has risen by more than 9,000% this year alone. Saloni Sardana looks at how something that began as an …
19 Apr 2021
Lab-grown meat: how “moo’s law” will drive innovation
Soft commodities

Lab-grown meat: how “moo’s law” will drive innovation

Jim Mellon and Anthony Chow, co-founders of Aim-listed Agronomics, explain why they believe that “cellular agriculture” will benefit from massive long…
16 Apr 2021
The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021