Although recent positive performances in the benchmark equity indices may suggest that the worst of the selloff is over, investors shouldn’t lose focus on the bigger picture. At the end of the positive print in the May 27 session, the S&P 500 index was still down a sizable 13%, meaning that reliability carries a premium. Therefore, the best consumer staples stocks to buy represent a relevant approach.
Let’s get something out of the way: The aforementioned sector, even those considered the absolute best consumer staples stocks to buy, are not exactly the sexiest ideas you can conjure up. Indeed, many of these businesses are downright boring. However, during these wild market sessions, boring is good. Boring likely won’t have you crying over 80% losses in your portfolio.
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While you probably won’t get rich off of the best consumer staples stocks to buy, the tradeoff is that these ideas are tied to permanently relevant commercial and retail operations. Better yet, this sector is well known for its reliable dividend payouts — a factor that should help mitigate the pain of soaring inflation.
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble (PG)
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One of the most powerful names among the best consumer staples stocks to buy, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) needs no introduction. If you’ve lived in the U.S. for any decent length of time, chances are, you’ve bought and/or used its products. From baby care to grooming to personal health care, Procter & Gamble has you covered.
Unsurprisingly, the company was one of the few businesses that not only didn’t see declines in revenue in 2020, it improved the top line by a sizable amount (up 5%). It followed up the performance with $76.1 billion in sales last year, an expansion of over 7% against the prior year.
Granted, when the books close on 2022, Procter & Gamble might see less enthusiasm due to inflation’s erosion of purchasing power. Nevertheless, PG is one of the best consumer staples stocks to buy because the underlying company fills humanity’s personal maintenance needs.
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An American icon, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) historically has played a role as one of the recession-resistant names among the best consumer staples stocks to buy. Not only does it tend to contextually outperform expectations during lean times, KO benefits from the cheap respite concept. When you’re looking for a quick and cheap pick-me-up — you know, like during a recession — Coca-Cola is here for you.
This thesis should prove invaluable in the months and possibly years ahead. If we enter a legitimate recession, plenty of folks will cut back on their caffeine addiction that they feed at their local overpriced corporate coffeeshop that shall not be named. However, they probably won’t go cold turkey. Instead, they can turn to cheaper alternatives like soft drinks — right into the warm embrace of Coca-Cola.
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Even if we don’t slip into a recession, inflation has been a tough road for all of us. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that consumers are modulating their purchasing behaviors to make up for rising costs. This may be a tailwind for KO stock.
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Admittedly, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is a troubling case. As you’ve probably heard, the big-box retailer stunk up the field not too long ago with a poor showing for its fiscal first quarter of 2023 earnings report. Although the company rang up revenue of $141.57 billion against a consensus target of $138.94 billion, it badly slipped on earnings per share, posting $1.30 adjusted against expectations for $1.48.
What is going on with “Wally World?” Blame inflation, supply chain disruptions and heightened inventory levels, according to management. It wouldn’t be fair to point exclusive blame on Walmart, because other similar retailers suffered the same issues. And to be completely upfront, I’m a little shaky on WMT stock’s technical profile, with pensive price action possibly indicative of further declines.
Still, you might want to nibble at WMT during these rough times because historically, it’s been proven to be one of the best consumer staples stocks to buy. I don’t expect this narrative to change irrespective of what lies ahead.
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With Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL), you probably can’t come up with a more boring name if you tried. But as I mentioned earlier, boring is good during these extraordinary circumstances. As consumer sentiment continues to slip down into multi-year lows, an increasing number of households will tighten their belts. But they can’t tighten to the point where they’re ignoring Colgate-Palmolive products.
If anything, consumers will be more receptive to the company, making CL one of the best consumer staples stocks to buy. According to a Washington Post article earlier this year, many folks postponed their dental appointments throughout much of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving their teeth in a mess. But should a recession hit, dental appointments will be all but canceled.
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Cynically, this possible dynamic plays into the hands of CL stock. After all, taking care of your teeth is one of the best ways to maintain overall personal health. And Colgate products provide a cheap alternative to going to the dentist.
CVS Health (CVS)
On a very similar note, CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) could benefit from cynical undertones of present economic circumstances. Among the key reasons why the U.S. recovered relatively strongly from the Covid-19 crisis was that millions of workers (particularly white-collar ones) were able to keep their jobs — and thus their benefits — through work-from-home initiatives. But that could be coming to an end.
Previously, I mentioned that workers relished wasting time on the clock before the pandemic. Therefore, it’s unlikely that they’re honest with little to no accountability. But taking that issue aside, the slowdown in the economy has forced many companies to announce layoffs. Therefore, plenty of people will find themselves without corporate-backed healthcare plans. And this may translate to an increase in over-the-counter medicine demand.
Granted, it’s a bit of a stretch in terms of requiring multiple parts to move in the right direction. But since CVS has always been relevant, it still makes a case for the best consumer staples stocks to buy.
Source: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com
One of the most relevant among the best consumer staples stocks to buy without even trying, Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM) is an ideal name if you’re seeking stable but robust return potential along with some passive income through dividends. A food processing and commodities trading company, Archer-Daniels-Midland will likely always have a place in anyone’s portfolio, irrespective of the market cycle.
Indeed, you might call ADM a what-are-you-gonna-do stock, as in, what recourse do you have if supply chains become disrupted or prices soar to the moon? If the company was in the business of selling video game consoles, it’s not a matter of life or death. But no food or beverages? That could start becoming detrimental in a hurry.
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To me, it’s no surprise that Archer Daniels Midland saw explosive revenue growth in 2021, gaining over 32% year-over-year to a tally of $85.2 billion. Further, in the first quarter of this year, the company posted sales of $23.7 billion, up 25% YOY.
Philip Morris (PM)
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We live in a free country. And that translates into the equities sector, which features myriad businesses that some of you might not want to have anything to do with, such as tobacco giant Philip Morris (NYSE:PM). If that’s you, I won’t be offended if you turn away at this moment. However, if you just want to protect your portfolio at any cost, you might consider PM.
I hesitate to call it one of the best consumer staples stocks to buy because of its underlying industry. At the same time, adults make adult choices. If they choose to smoke, so be it. It’s not my business. But in the potentially rough waters ahead, you could make a good business out of investing in Philip Morris or similar companies.
During a recession, some evidence indicates that as the economy slips, drinking rips. By logical deduction, it stands to reason that smoking rates could rise during downturns, which makes PM a very cynical but potentially viable consumer staples stock to buy.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
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