Stocks to buy

Consumer staples stocks are not exactly the sexiest investments out there. However, with the market volatility over the past several months, it’s best to load up on these stocks as a buffer against the adverse economic backdrop. Better yet, the dividend paying consumer staples stocks discussed in the piece offer reliable payouts, which should alleviate the pain of soaring inflation.  Over the years, consumer staples stocks have become synonymous with defensive stocks, which typically outperform the market during a selloff. In the past 12 months, the Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF (NYSEARCA:XLP) has shed 2.9% of its market cap, while the S&P 500 has declined by more than 6.5%.

Therefore, it’s best to pivot to dividend paying consumer staples stocks to mitigate your losses effectively.

WMT Walmart $146.44
CVS CVS Health $88.58
ADM Archer-Daniels-Midland $81.59
KR Kroger $44.00
SYY SYSCO Corp. $78.71
BG Bunge $97.57
KO Coca-Cola $60.12

Dividend Paying Consumer Staples Stocks: Walmart (WMT)

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International big box retailer Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has been a mainstay in virtually every dividend stocks to buy list over the years. It boasts an excellent dividend profile, with 49 years of payout growth, comfortably ahead of the sector median at 14 years. It carries a yield of 1.53%. Despite the challenges posed by the macroeconomic environment, the firm was able to post strong numbers in recent quarters. It returned a whopping $13.3 billion to its shareholders during the first nine months of 2022.

Shoppers have been more focused of late on price, which bodes well for the firm’s bottom line. As discussed by my colleague Faizan Farooque, its operating model allows for lower prices, which should translate into higher sales in an economic downturn. Revenues surged 9% in its third quarter due to greater consumer traffic and spending.

CVS Health (CVS)

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Leading pharmacy chain CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) has been one of the most consistent businesses in the healthcare space. The firm has grown its sales and EBITDA by over 11.5% and 9%, respectively, over the past five years. Moreover, it has paid a dividend for 14 consecutive years, ahead of the sector median at 11 years. CVS carries a yield of 2.73%.

CVS wrapped another solid year, with revenues up by double-digit margins to $292.1 billion, while its top and bottom-line results surpassed analyst estimates for the fourth quarter. Moreover, it reaffirmed its 2023 adjusted earnings per share outlook of $8.70 to $8.90, expecting its EPS to rise to $10 by 2025.

Moreover, the healthcare giant pulled the curtains on its massive $10.6 billion acquisition of Oak Street Health, which would help it gain access to roughly 600 primary care providers and 169 medical centers across the country. Hence, it remains in excellent shape to continue firing for its investors.

Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM)

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Founded over a century ago, Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM) remains one of the nation’s most important food processing and commodities trading players. Despite the challenging conditions at the stock market last year, its stock has gained over 6.4% of equity value during the trailing year and has doubled its share prices within the past five years. ADM has a yield of 2.21%. It boasts an A-graded dividend profile, demonstrating dividend growth for 50 consecutive years. Moreover, its forward dividend per share growth of 7.4% is more than 40% higher than the sector average.

Operating results for the firm have been excellent, with it topping estimates for nine years in a row. Stronger-than-anticipated results from South America have helped it post robust top and bottom-line numbers in recent quarters. In its fourth quarter, sales and operating profits were up 13.6% and 18%, respectively. Surprisingly, ADM stock trades at 0.4 times forward sales estimates, roughly 62% lower than the sector average.

Kroger (KR)

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Kroger (NYSE:KR) is an excellent consumer goods investment holding up amazingly well in uncertain markets. It’s a top supermarket and multi-department store operator focusing on core essentials, providing a degree of economic insulation. Moreover, in the past seven quarters, it has delivered healthy single-digit revenue gains barring the first quarter of 2022. KR yields 2.36%.

Its dividend profile is mighty impressive, with 16 consecutive years of payout growth. Also, its payout ratio of 22% offers a spectacular upside potential in growing its payouts further. Additionally, its valuation is even more attractive, with its stock trading at just 0.2 times forward sales estimates.

Kroger’s digital initiatives have been incredibly prosperous, with digital sales increasing 10% in its most recent quarter. This is especially impressive considering the stiff competition in the retail grocery space. Investors should keep an eye on digital sales growth trends for Kroger and its competitors going forward to ensure that it remains favorable among consumers.

Sysco (SYY)

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Sysco (NYSE:SYY) is a leading food distributor to restaurants, hospitals, schools, and other consumer staples businesses. With the strength of supply chains becoming more and more important worldwide, the strength and resilience of Sysco’s business make it an attractive stock in long-term investment portfolios. SYY has a yield of 2.5%. Sysco truly stands out from its competitors due to the extensive distribution network that powers it. It presents a wide range of product offerings to its customers at competitive prices while ensuring that these products are reliably and conveniently delivered thanks to its massive network of facilities trucks promptly.

Sysco has been gaining market share coming out of the crippling pandemic. It has delivered double-digit growth in sales over the past seven consecutive quarters. Margins have come under pressure due to inflationary pressures, but its efforts to curb costs should help mitigate the pain. More importantly, it yields an enticing dividend yield of 2.5% with seven consecutive years of payout growth.

Bunge (BG)

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Bunge (NYSE:BG) is an incredible business that plays a critical role in the consumer staples space. It provides oilseed, grain products, and other related ingredients to multiple companies in its niche. Likewise, it brings revenue from a relatively stable market segment, while consumer staples companies receive raw materials at competitive prices. BG yields 2.56%.

The firm has paid a dividend for the past 18 consecutive years at a healthy yield of over 2.5%. Additionally, its one-year dividend growth stands at an astonishing 15.6%. Moreover, its stock trades at just 0.2 times forward sales, roughly 80% lower than the sector average.

Its business has held up well despite the turbulent geopolitical environment. Also, its balance sheet has gotten a lot stronger robust due to the effective decision-making from its management. It has a colossal $1.1 billion in its cash reserves, and with so much money sitting idle on its balance sheet, I expect more share buybacks and dividend bumps in the upcoming quarters.

Coca-Cola (KO)

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Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)  stands out as a timeless classic that has come to embody western-style capitalism. Perhaps more importantly, for investors, it is part of the elusive Dividend Kings list, which includes companies that have raised their dividend payouts for 50 years or more. Also, its been an excellent wealth compounder, with its total return at a superb 120% over the past decade. KO yields 3.06%.

It recently delivered another smasher in the year’s final quarter, with a 15% bump in organic sales. The favorable price/mix allowed the firm to boost its sales and operating margins by double digits during the quarter. As we advance, it expects organic revenues to grow by 7% to 8%, ahead of the 7.1% consensus in 2023. Hence, for those seeking reliable value without significant risk, Coca-Cola appears poised to continue its dominance in the beverage market.

On the date of publication, Muslim Farooque 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 Publishing Guidelines.

Muslim Farooque is a keen investor and an optimist at heart. A life-long gamer and tech enthusiast, he has a particular affinity for analyzing technology stocks. Muslim holds a bachelor’s of science degree in applied accounting from Oxford Brookes University.