3 ASX shares to buy before looming economic slowdown: expert

Post-pandemic recovery is going to take a step back, especially now lockdowns will kill off business and consumer activity. So which stocks are the best in this environment?

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There is an economic slowdown coming, and there are only certain ASX shares that will serve you right in those conditions.

That's the opinion of T Rowe Price Group Inc (NASDAQ: TROW) head of Australian equities Randal Jenneke, who said the country has "likely passed the peak" of the post-COVID economic recovery.

"We believe GDP growth and inflation expectations will cool over the year," he said this week.

"The latest lockdowns in NSW and Victoria are poised to further curb some of the market's enthusiasm for ongoing strong economic growth."

Types of ASX shares that are good in slowing economies

According to Jenneke, slowing economic conditions favour what he called "quality" stocks.

"Historically, the highest ranked companies in the category have outperformed the lowest ranked by 1.8% each month on average during decelerating growth periods," he said.

"Conversely, they have underperformed by -2.2% per month during recovery periods… With the strong rebound in growth during the second half of last year, the bucket experienced its worst return in close to a decade."

Jenneke also showed the same pattern happening during the global financial crisis, dot-com bust and the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

"While we may not be entering another downturn of such magnitude, we are moving towards an impending slowdown," he said.

"As we do so, we have already seen quality start to return to favour. It was the best performing factor in June and year-to-date it is now second only to the much-hyped value rally."

So what is 'quality'?

Jenneke explained that, to his team, "quality" meant strong return on capital and resilient earnings growth.

He put up 3 examples of quality ASX shares that T Rowe Price recently increased its exposure to — Resmed CDI (ASX: RMD), Goodman Group (ASX: GMG) and CarSales.com Ltd (ASX: CAR).

"Over more than two decades of data for the Australian market, high quality had outperformed low quality by 6.7% per annum," he said.

"With many of these factors in mind, we believe the school of quality is back in session and is poised to outperform over the coming year."

Only on Monday, Resmed displayed the resilient qualities Jenneke was espousing.

The healthcare stock shot up more than 2% on a day when the ASX generally was having a shocker. In fact, it is now trading at a 52-week high.

Goodman also held firm, holding its value in a sea of red on Monday. Carsales lost a little on Monday but has added more than 8% in the past month.

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended ResMed. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended ResMed Inc. and carsales.com Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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