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Morgan Stanley reiterates 'buy' for FTSE 100, highlights 'defensive' qualities

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Monday 24 Jan 2022

Morgan Stanley reiterates 'buy' for FTSE 100, highlights 'defensive' qualities

(Sharecast News) - Analysts at Morgan Stanley sounded a 'bullish' note on the outlook for the FTSE 100, highlighting its greater 'defensive' properties relative to rivals, higher dividend yields versus global peers, exposure to energy and record low expectations for growth in the profits of its constituent companies.

On just over two-thirds of the occassions that global equities had fallen over the past two decades, the MSCI UK index had outperformed MSCI Europe.

Under the assumption that inflation-adjusted bond yields would rise to -0.1%, they estimated that MSCI UK was set to outperform by approximately 12%.

And changing hands at 12.6 times' earnings, London's top-flight index was the cheapest major index when compared with the last 10 years.

Furthermore, consensus forecasts for earnings per share growth for MSCI UK of less than 3% felt "very low" to them.

Regarding its dividend payouts, MSCI UK was trading on a dividend yield of 3.6%, which was 150 basis points more than for the MSCI Europe if the UK were excluded.

The UK also stood to benefit from rising oil prices, because 25% of UK profits came from the energy sector, they pointed out.

At the individual company level, they singled out eight large capitalisation 'overweight' rates stocks that had over 10% upside left to their target price and the best "bull-bear skew".

Those included AstraZeneca, Diageo, Shell, RELX, Lloyds, Prudential and Vodafone.

All told, they had a 'buy' recommendation for the FTSE 100, labelling the investment case "compelling".


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