Market Overview

Seeking Shelter From the Market Storm? Bet on These 5 Brands

The stock market has been volatile in 2012 on account of the European debt crisis and slowing global growth, but the returns thus far have been solid with the S&P 500 gaining more than 6 percent. Stocks are well off of their highs from late March and early April, however, and it always feels like the market is a headline or two away from falling off a cliff.

The very near-term trend also does not inspire confidence as the S&P has fallen a little less than 2 percent over the last five trading days and the Nasdaq has slumped less than 3 percent during that time period.

What should investors do? A prudent strategy heading into the late summer and early fall may be to focus primarily on high-yielding blue chips with exposure to consumer goods and everyday essential items. These companies, because of their stable business lines and high dividend yields, often outperform in rocky markets.

Below, Benzinga offers five stock ideas based on the premise that consumer goods companies with high-quality brands and dividend yields over 3 percent will outpace the broader market if stock prices continue to slide.

Conversely, if the market rallies, these stocks should do okay as well. While they won't produce the returns of basic materials, energy, tech or financials during bullish phases, they have the potential for price appreciation even in bearish short-term cycles.

Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB): This stock benefits from a stable business model and a strong brand. Shares have been in an uptrend since early June, but remain below year-to-date highs seen in mid-May. The stock is yielding around 3.50 percent at current levels and this dividend should help provide price support for Campbell in the event of a deep pullback.

General Mills (NYSE: GIS): This stock is a favored play during times of uncertainty because of its blue-chip brand, high dividend yield, and stable business. Also, General Mills has a very interesting long-term chart. The stock has been basing and consolidating in a range between roughly 34.00 and $41.00 since early 2010. It also has been making higher highs and lower lows, which is a bullish pattern.

If General Mills were to breakout above $40.00 in the coming months, it could trigger the start of another bull run in the name. At current levels, General Mills is yielding a very healthy 3.40 percent.

H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ): This company has the most recognizable ketchup brand in the world. While that might seem like a ridiculous reason to buy a stock, it isn't. Brand is a very important, and frequently overlooked, component of successful investing - just ask long-term holders of stocks such as McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) and Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX).

Heinz has a terrific brand, a track record of creating shareholder value, and a solid line of businesses. The stock is sitting near all-time high levels and has notched a return of 3 percent in 2012. As an added bonus, Heinz is yielding around 3.80 percent at current levels.

Kellogg (NYSE: K): Like its competitor General Mills, Kellogg is a dominant player in the breakfast food segment. The company has also become a major force in the snack-food market with its acquisition of Pringles and brands such as Cheez-It, Keebler, and Austin among others.

The stock has not kept pace with more cyclical names in 2012, falling a little more than 2 percent. Over the last year, Kellogg is down a little more than 10 percent. While holders of the stock wait for it to rebound, however, they can collect a 3.50 percent dividend yield at current levels.

Pepsico (NYSE: PEP) - Pepsi is one of the most recognized brands in the world and the company has a fantastic global beverage business. Its ownership of the Frito-Lay brand also gives it a giant footprint in the snack business. Quaker Foods rounds out Pepsico's food and beverage portfolio.

The stock's chart looks compelling and Pepsi has been in an uptrend since the March 2009 stock market lows. Year-to-date, shares have climbed 5.62 percent and Pepsi is currently yielding 3.10 percent.

Posted-In: blue chips brandLong Ideas Dividends Technicals After-Hours Center Markets Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga

 

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