1 top stock to buy without hesitation in this latest FTSE sell-off

BUY AND HOLD spelled out in letters on a stack of books.  Next to it is a piggy bank in glasses.  Buy and hold is a popular long-term stock and equity strategy.

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Last week, FTSE shares closed on a downtrend – just one of many market pullbacks we’ve seen in recent years. And these reversals will continue as sure as eggs are eggs.

But these dips are not only frustrating for shareholders, they often provide investors with a chance to cheaply load up on stocks. It’s the classic tactic used by successful operators like billionaire investor Warren Buffett. When the headlines get scary, some investors dump stocks. But Buffett often sucks up the best ones cheaply — by the bucketful.

Quality at a fair price

He’s known for seeking quality companies with a decent growth path. But he buys for the best possible rating. And that often means waiting for dips, down days, and company-specific short-term pullbacks.

I’m assuming we’re seeing a general market decline right now. And it appears to have been prompted by a more hawkish stance from the US Federal Reserve on interest rates to combat inflation. Although we never really know for sure what is causing the overall market sentiment to drop. It’s only really useful for investors to note. And that can lead to an opportunity to sniff out a bargain.

And one stock you shouldn’t hesitate to buy in this recent market sell-off is the premium soft drinks company Diageo (LSE: DGE). In January, I named the stock as the one I would pick for 100% of my money. But only if I could hypothetically buy just one company’s stock for my long-term portfolio.

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In reality, buying just one is rarely a good idea. And most portfolios would benefit from at least some diversification between different names. But the exercise helped me figure out what really matters when it comes to stock picking.

And in the case of Diageo, I pointed out its long and solid financial record and its strong and enduring brands. But beyond that, there’s a good growth trajectory, an impressive record of dividend growth, and a solid balance sheet.

Balanced and ready to jump

But even quality companies can make bad investments. Every business can experience operational setbacks from time to time. And Diageo’s brands may not prove as resilient as I believe. Still, the only thing that matters to me is the rating. And that’s where last week’s market decline comes into play.

I’m on my hips, watching Diageo like a tiger ready to pounce. The lower the stock price falls, the more attractive the stock becomes for long-term holding.

Meanwhile, the company announced some advancements in its beverage portfolio last Friday. It completed the takeover of Don Papa Ruma dark super premium rum from the Philippines.

And the purchase is in line with Diageo’s acquisition strategy “High growth brands with attractive margins that support premiumization”. The new name will join an elite list in the company’s stable Johnnie Walker, royal crown, J&B, Smirnoff, Cîroc, Ketel Eins, Captain Morgan, Bailey’s, Don Julio, Tanqueray And Guiness.

That’s an impressive lineup that interests me in Diageo stock. And that’s especially true when the general market is declining, as it is right now.

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