The referendum vote sent shock waves through financial markets worldwide, but few stocks were as damaged as those in UK property, banking and travel. Fears over the possible effects of Brexit on these industries are valid, but long-term investors shouldn't miss this opportunity to buy shares of companies with dominant market positions, impressive margins and high moats to entry for competitors at bargain prices.
Despite being in the broader market rally at the end of last week, shares of property listing site Rightmove(LSE: RMV) are still trading 10% below their pre-referendum price. The UK property market is at risk from the uncertainty likely to hit the domestic economy as negotiations begin with the EU, but Rightmove remains a fantastic company with great potential.
Its strength comes from its 77% market share for website traffic in the homes listing sector. Management has leveraged this market position into phenomenal profitability with 71% operating margins in 2015. The high moat to entry for competitors is also clear from the relative failure of estate agent-backed OnTheMarket.com. All of this makes me confident that Rightmove will continue to be a solid long-term investment despite current volatility.
It's a similar story for Europe's largest discount airline Ryanair(LSE: RYA). Its shares are off by 12% since 22 June. The bevy of new competitors who've attempted in recent years to knock Ryanair off its perch have had little effect as it still recorded an 18% jump in customers over the past 12 months and a whopping 43% jump in post-tax profits, excluding the EUR317.5m sale of its Aer Lingus stake.
Falling oil prices, fewer empty seats on planes and increased operational efficiency boosted operating margins to 22% over the last full year, a very impressive number in the airline industry. The high moat to entry incumbents enjoy includes the obvious high capital expense of buying and maintaining the planes themselves, but also the less-apparent-but-equally-restrictive number of landing spots available at popular airports. These competitive advantages combined with net cash of EUR312m have set Ryanair up for continued success in the years to come no matter the immediate effects of the Brexit vote.
Domestic retail banks have borne the brunt of the downturn over the past week, and Virgin Money (LSE: VM) was no exception with shares down 25%. This came despite the challenger bank reporting strong Q1 results including a 4% quarter-on-quarter rise in mortgage lending and 15% jump in credit card balances. Virgin may not have the dominant market position established rivals such as Barclays and RBS enjoy, but it has been growing fast and has 3.4% of the domestic mortgage market.
Rapid growth in the past few years is the result of overhauling the remnants of Northern Rock bought from the government in 2011. Cost-cutting has improved the bank's cost-to-income ratio from a horrific 148% in 2011 to 63.6% last year. This has done its part to help underlying return on tangible equity (RoTE) leap to 10.9% from -5.2% over the same period.
Management is targeting a mid teens RoTE within the next few years, and judging by past success this seems well within reach. Although the domestic economy may endure a turbulent period as negotiations begin with the EU, Virgin's growing market share, low operating costs and recent success leave me optimistic the bank is still a solid long-term option.
Ian Pierce has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays and Rightmove. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.