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In this article, we discuss the 10 best stocks to invest in for financial stability. If you want to read about some more stocks in this selection, go directly to the 5 Best Stocks To Invest In For Financial Stability.
While we all might love the idea of investing in risk-free stocks, there’s no such thing as a stock that’s 100% safe. Even the best companies can face unexpected trouble, and it’s common for even the most stable corporations to get shaken up due to significant price volatility. This was evident during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when many strong companies experienced dramatic drops in stock prices. More recently, we saw this phenomenon in 2022 when rising interest rates, inflation, and international conflict shook the stock market.
Although 2023 started off on a decent note, the same can’t be claimed for the rest of the year if Barclays Capital Inc.’s predictions are anything to go by. The investment advisory firm says that 2023 will go down as one of the worst for the world economy in four decades. Additionally, Ned Davis Research Inc. puts the odds of a severe global downturn at 65%. However, most investment firms agree that the year will be incredibly uneven, with Deutsche Bank AG seeing the S&P 500 Index rising to about 4,500 in the first half, before falling 25% in the third quarter as a downturn bites — only to jump back up to 4,500 by end-2023 as certain investors tailgate a recovery.
Long-term investors ignore the agitating, short-term rise and fall of stock markets. Rather than getting caught up in the whirlwinds of uncertainty, they buy the shares of stable companies with reliable performance that’s measured in years, or even decades. Although still subject to volatility like every other stock, these recession-proof equities (see 10 Best Recession Proof Stocks To Invest In) include household names like Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH).
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We scanned Insider Monkey’s database of more than 940 hedge funds and picked the top 10 stocks that can provide financial stability to investors. These stocks belong to defensive sectors like consumer staples, healthcare, and energy. Many of these companies have solid dividend histories and enjoy a stable market position. The list is arranged according to the number of hedge fund holders in each firm.
10 Best Stocks To Invest In For Financial Stability
10. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD)
Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 57
McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is an American multinational fast food chain, founded in 1940 as a restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald. The company’s systemwide sales rose 5% on a year-over-year basis, while its global comparable sales rose 10.9% year-over-year in 2022. Although the fast-food chain stated that the currency rate has been fluctuating quite a bit, it sees its FY23 capital expenditures to be around $2.2-$2.4 billion. Additionally, at the end of January, the company revealed plans to open 1900 new restaurants this year globally on a gross basis.
On February 17, Loop Capital analyst Alton Stump maintained a Buy rating and $328 price target on McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) in addition to raising his Q1 growth estimates in the U.S. to 7.5% from 5.5% and FY23 estimates to 4.9% from 4.4%. The analyst cited his latest McDonald’s U.S. franchisee checks indicating that same-store sales growth is once again off to a strong start to date in Q1.
According to Insider Monkey’s Q4 data, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) was part of 57 hedge fund portfolios, compared to 53 in the prior quarter. Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group is the largest stakeholder of the company, with more than 2 million shares worth $529.3 million.
Much like Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is considered a relatively safe bet.
9. The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)
Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 58
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) is an American multinational beverage corporation founded in 1892, best known as the producer of Coca-Cola. The company offers more than 200 brands—from sodas to waters, from coffees to teas, from juices to kombuchas, and a growing list of flavored alcohol beverages — in more than 200 countries and territories .The beverage giant announced its 61st consecutive dividend increase on February 16th, 2023, making it a reliable dividend king to invest in.
Morgan Stanley analyst Dara Mohsenian raised the price target on The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) to $70 from $68 and kept an Overweight rating on the shares February 15. According to the analyst, the company’s “robust” 11% organic sales growth in Q4 in terms of unit cases represents its strong pricing power, limited demand elasticity, and solid execution. Mohsenian points to the company’s 7-8% organic sales growth guidance for FY23 as evidence of strong topline growth.
According to Insider Monkey’s data, 58 hedge funds were bullish on The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) at the end of Q4 2022, compared to 59 funds in the last quarter. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway held the largest stake in the company, with 400 million shares.
“Over the last year, we have repositioned our portfolio to navigate the course we see ahead. We added to more defensive areas of the portfolio like consumer staples (The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)). While the next month or two will likely prove choppy on account of the Omicron variant, we believe that Omicron, like Delta, represents a speed bump on the way to recovery rather than a true change in course. We see strong economic momentum continuing in 2022 and we expect interest rates to rise. After a decade of remarkably low rates, we would not be surprised if this change in direction is accompanied by some fits and starts in the markets. With our emphasis on pricing power, purposeful sector exposure, valuation discipline, and a strong dividend profile, we believe we are well-positioned for the year ahead.”
8. NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE)
Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 61
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage. Through its subsidiaries, the company generates clean, emissions-free electricity from seven commercial nuclear power units in Florida, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
Earlier this January, Wells Fargo analyst Neil Kalton raised the price target on NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) to $110 from $105 on higher assumed NEER capital investment opportunities, influenced by his Generation Outlook 2050 analysis. While he believes that renewables are the key driver of NEER’s growth, he adds that other decarbonization-related verticals are emerging. Kalton maintained an Overweight rating on the shares of the company.
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) was popular among elite funds in Q4 2022, as 61 funds in Insider Monkey’s database owned stakes in the company. The collective value of these stakes is over $2.15 billion.
“NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) is an integrated utility business with a regulated utility operating in Florida and the largest wind business in the U.S. NextEra’s regulated business includes Florida Power & Light, which serves nine million people in Florida. NextEra’s share price rose along with the passage of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which considerably expands support for renewable energy.”
7. Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT)
Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 66
Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores in the United States. On January 5, the retail giant announced the success of its drone delivery program in 2022. The company completed more than 6,000 deliveries via drone during the year from its 36 drone delivery hubs across seven states.
On February 15, Cowen analyst Oliver Chen raised the price target on Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to $180 from $175 and kept an Outperform rating on the shares. The analyst raised his estimates on prospects of better sales trends and the likelihood of solid store traffic trends, particularly in January.
Evercore ISI added Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to the firm’s “Tactical Outperform” list on February 17, noting that the stock has lagged the S&P and S&P Retail Index by 5% and 17%, respectively, year-to-date. The firm believes that a 2023 guide down is likely already reflected in the stock performance and sees upside to Q4 results driven by stronger sales and share gains in grocery.
According to Insider Monkey’s third quarter database, 66 hedge funds were long Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT), compared to 68 funds in the earlier quarter. The collective stakes held by elite hedge funds in Q4 2022 increased to $4.85 billion from $4 billion in Q3 2022.
“The pandemic has created challenges for businesses large and small; one major challenge for large essential retailers such as ClearBridge holdings Home Depot, Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Costco have been ensuring adequate staffing to meet demand under trying conditions. All three instituted enhanced pay practices during the pandemic, with raises, unplanned bonuses and other benefits helping compensate employees for their efforts in a difficult environment. In September 2020 Walmart raised wages for 165,000 employees, including a number of entry positions to $15 an hour. It followed this in February with a raise for 425,000 workers that moved its average pay above $15 an hour.”
6. Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST)
Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 66
Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) operates an international chain of membership warehouses, mainly under the “Costco Wholesale” name, that carry quality, brand-name merchandise at substantially lower prices than are typically found at conventional wholesale or retail sources.
On February 2, Truist analyst Scot Ciccarelli raised the price target on Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) to $568 from $538 and maintained a Buy rating on the shares. According to the analyst, Costco’s January sales were “solid”, and its extreme value proposition will enable the company to continue gaining more members and market share, particularly if the economy continues to soften.
According to Insider Monkey’s data, 66 hedge funds were long Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) at the end of Q4 2022, compared to 69 funds in the earlier quarter. Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group is the largest stakeholder of the company, with 2.5 million shares worth $1.12 billion.
Similar to PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP), Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) has historically provided investors with protection against market downturns.
Here is what Cooper Investors Global Equities Fund has to say about Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) in its Q3 2022 investor letter:
“The US economy continues to run hot – the labor market is extremely tight and a number of executives we spoke to described their challenges in retaining staff and preventing competitors from poaching talent. Industrial companies in particular continue to see record backlogs, with the easing of logistics and supply chain constraints only just starting to have an impact on deliveries and lead times.
In terms of inflationary pressures, the vast majority of our holdings have been able to leverage strong market positions and stakeholder relationships to push pricing through in 2022 such that minimal impact to earnings has occurred. Clearly this is not a lever that can be pulled indefinitely but the more experienced management teams have kept some of their powder dry. Our meeting with management at Costco in Seattle was memorable for several reasons but one was their latent ability to increase member pricing which they have not done in over 5 years (and thus likely to do in 2023)…
…To conclude we’ll return to our meeting with Costco mentioned earlier. The business quality is no secret after decades of incredible execution, but the meeting gave us renewed conviction around Value Latencies in terms of the runway for growth, the focus on enhancing customer value, Costco’s vast buying power (it purchases 30% of the world’s jumbo cashews as one example) and management’s feral focus on the business model and cost discipline.”
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Disclosure: None. 10 Best Stocks To Invest In For Financial Stability is originally published on Insider Monkey.