This market is uncertain. More than it has ever been.
We don’t even know when we can go back to work … much less go out to eat.
That favors companies with less uncertainty.
So, I want to take you through an exercise that both makes sense … and makes you money.
My goal was to choose sectors that we will continue to rely upon regardless of our current pandemic.
I focused on three essential sectors:
- Consumer staples.
- Health care.
They should remain in demand. That’s why the best names in these sectors are beating the market right now.
And I’ve figured out a way to improve on these already market-beating returns.
Cash Is King
Once I narrowed my search to three sectors — consumer staples, health care and utilities — I focused on companies that consistently grow their dividends.
It makes sense to take advantage of the market’s weakness by picking up some solid dividend-paying stocks. You may never want to sell them.
Per Dividend.com, 33 companies from these three sectors have increased their dividends for at least 27 years in a row. The bulk of these companies are in the S&P 500 Index or the Russell 2000 Index.
From the market top on February 19 to the March 23 bottom, the S&P 500 fell 34%. The Russell 2000 fell 41%. But our list of 33 stocks only fell 25%.
And this isn’t the first time they’ve outperformed.
From its September 2000 peak to October 2002, the S&P 500 fell nearly 60%. This group of stocks rose 14%.
That came after the information technology sector had handily outpaced the broader market over the prior decade. And we just saw that again.
The information technology sector’s gains doubled the S&P 500’s performance since the March 2009 bottom.
How to Cull the List
In my example above, I said the dividend-raising stocks fell 25% from February to March.
But if we just owned the companies with small amounts of debt, our loss decreased to 13%.
This has continued. Between February 19 and April 7, these companies are nearly break-even, down just 1.6%.
This should make sense to you.
If you have less debt, you can sleep better at night. Companies are the same way:
The Final Four
Out of the 33 companies that I looked at, only four met our criteria and had small amounts of debt.
Three are consumers staples, and one is a health care name:
(Source: Bloomberg, Dividend.com; as of 4/7/20)
You all likely know Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. (NYSE: TR), the maker of the tasty candy.
You are all familiar with cash dividends. TR’s is 0.9%.
In addition, it pays its shareholders a 3% stock dividend.
It’s different from a normal cash dividend. The number of shares you own increases by 3% each year … and you don’t have to do anything.
You collect cash dividends on these free shares, too.
These four stocks have proven they can make you money in these uncertain markets. And they’ll let you sleep better at night, too.
I suggest you look into them today.
Editor, Profit Line