With a possible downturn on the way, investors may want to consider recession-proof stocks to buy. Understandably, the topic arouses much debate, particularly because the equities sector has held up well this year. Notably, a Reuters report stated that the Bank of Canada sees stronger growth in 2023 and that recessions risks shrunk.
At the same time, investors will probably do well focusing on stocks that outperform in a recession. First, several other institutions, including the World Bank warned of a “lost decade” of growth. Second, you have actual kinetic reasons to believe in an upcoming downturn, most notably the banking sector fallout. Put another way, we’re no longer dealing with theoretical concerns. Plus, acquiring recession-resistant stocks inherently means you’re still in the game. It’s just that you’re adjusting your exposure to certain realities. With that, here are some potentially bulletproof ideas to consider.
|PG||Procter & Gamble||$151.05|
Procter & Gamble (PG)
Easily one of the recession-proof stocks to buy, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) already demonstrated its “doomsday” relevancies. Back during the start of the Covid-19 crisis, everyone rushed for toilet paper. If you could get it, you opted for a P&G brand like Charmin. Comfortable yet resilient, Charmin offers a better experience than the industrial type of TP.
Excuse my pandemic-related flashback. But the point stands – should an economic downturn materialize, PG ranks among the stocks that outperform in a recession. Aside from an initial dropdown during the spring of 2020, PG has been resilient over the long haul. In the trailing five years, it’s up nearly 105%. Financially, the company’s biggest strength centers on the bottom line. According to Gurufocus, P&G’s trailing-year net margin comes out to 17.79%. Compared to other companies listed in the consumer packaged goods industry, PG outpaces 91.78% of rivals.
Finally, Wall Street analysts peg PG as a consensus moderate buy. Their average price target is $159.79, implying nearly 6% upside potential.
Duke Energy (DUK)
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) should be a top choice for recession-proof stocks. As a major utility company, Duke cynically benefits from a natural monopoly. Basically, utilities feature such high barriers to entry that would-be competitors don’t even try. Therefore, Duke doesn’t feature the greatest financials but it gets the job done.
Even better, what else are its customers supposed to do? Unless you’re doomsday prepping with your own power source, you must pay up. That’s what makes DUK such a formidable entry among recession-resistant stocks. Good times or not, the utility company will get its money. As I said, on paper, Duke’s financials don’t inspire much. However, its core strength lies in its profitability. For example, its operating margin comes out to 22.33%. Compared to enterprises in the regulated utility space, DUK ranks better than 76.56% of its rivals.
Lastly, analysts peg DUK as a consensus moderate buy. Their average price target is $106.88, implying over 9% upside potential.
Grocery Outlet (GO)
A discount closeout retailer, Grocery Outlet (NASDAQ:GO) consists exclusively of supermarket locations that offer deeply discounted, overstocked, and closeout products from name-brand and private-label suppliers. Just from this description, you can tell that GO represents a clear example of recession-proof stocks to buy. Basically, Grocery Outlet enables consumers to get their calories for cheap.
As a relatively new public enterprise – it launched its initial public offering in 2019 – it’s difficult to say with absolute authority that GO will be one of the stocks that outperform in a recession. Conspicuously, naysayers will look to its trailing-year loss of nearly 18% as evidence that GO can’t hack it. On the other hand, the company really needs to just stay in the game. With that, the operating and net margin stats of 2.65% and 1.82%, respectively, should get the job done. They’re basically in line with industry norms.
Further, Wall Street analysts peg GO as a consensus moderate buy. Their average price target comes out to $30.56, implying nearly 10% upside potential.
Dollar General (DG)
A popular dollar store, Dollar General (NYSE:DG) easily ranks among the recession-proof stocks to buy. After all, we’re talking about a very intuitive business model: offer everyday basic goods (and edibles) at rock-bottom prices. And yes, there’s something to be said about the quality problem of buying really cheap products. However, with the replacement cost being a buck or so, you probably can’t go wrong.
Moreover, another reason why DG ranks among the stocks that outperform in a recession centers on its financials. Operationally, Dollar General gets the job done. Its three-year revenue growth rate comes out to 15.9% while its net margin hits 6.38%. Both stats rate impressively high for the underlying sector. Also, on a fundamental note, desperation will likely kick in during an economic downturn. Therefore, DG should be high on your list of recession-resistant stocks to buy.
Turning to Wall Street, analysts peg DG as a consensus moderate buy. Their average price target comes out to $241, implying 13% upside potential.
Home Depot (HD)
In my opinion, home-improvement retail stalwart Home Depot (NYSE:HD) easily slots in as one of the recession-proof stocks to buy. During the initial period of the Covid-related lockdowns, Home Depot stayed open for longer than most of its retail peers. I don’t think we truly realize how much of a blessing this was.
Further, the company tends to do whatever it can to stay open during natural disasters. Technically, Home Depot represents a retailer. But in times of duress, it almost acts as part of the governmental infrastructure. Therefore, that same ethos should make HD one of the recession-resistant stocks to buy.
Financially, the company’s strengths lie in its operational stats. Its three-year revenue growth rate pings at 15.2%, outpacing 78.36% of companies listed in the cyclical retail industry. Also, its net margin prints 10.87%, above 87.82% of its rivals. Looking to the Street, analysts peg HD as a consensus moderate buy. Moreover, their average price target stands at $333.58, implying over 14% upside potential.
NextEra Energy (NEE)
A powerhouse entity within the renewable energy sector, NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) owns vast wind and solar power networks. Fundamentally, NEE represents one of the recession-proof stocks to buy because it provides power to millions of customer accounts. Cynically, whether we’re living in good economic times or bad, people must pay their bills. Therefore, NextEra is another beneficiary of a natural monopoly.
So far this year, however, NEE hasn’t performed that well, which may fuel criticism. Since the Jan. opener, NEE dipped 7%. In the past 365 days, it’s down almost 5%. Nevertheless, investors should consider NEE as one of the stocks that outperform in a recession because of its proven performance. In the trailing 60 months, NEE gained slightly over 94%.
Financially, NextEra presents a mixed bag. However, the company’s strongest attributes focus on the bottom line. Specifically, its net margin pings at 19.79%. Compared to companies in the regulated utility sector, NEE ranks better than 84.62% of its peers.
Finally, analysts peg NEE as a unanimous strong buy. Further, their average price target stands at $94.18, implying nearly 21% upside potential.
An American agribusiness and food company, Bunge (NYSE:BG) inherently ranks among the recession-proof stocks to buy. Basically, it comes down to a cold, hard fact: humans don’t do so well without food. However, the market hasn’t exactly responded positively to this fact. Since the Jan. opener, BG slipped a little more than 1%. In the trailing year, it’s down almost 26%.
Still, investors should focus on the positives. For example, Bunge carries an Altman Z-Score of 4.58, reflecting fiscal stability and low bankruptcy risk. Operationally, the company comes alive with a three-year revenue growth rate of 14.7%. Compared to companies listed in the consumer packaged goods industry, Bunge ranks better than 76.62% of its peers.
Plus, the market prices BG at a forward multiple of 8.22. As a discount to projected earnings, BG beats out 88.39% of the competition. Lastly, analysts peg BG as a consensus moderate buy. Their average price target comes out to $119.50, implying almost 27% upside potential.
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.