Dividend Stocks

Steady Eddies: 7 Rock-Solid Stocks to Anchor Your Portfolio in April

Perhaps the biggest justification for steady stocks comes from an asset class completely unrelated to the equities market: cryptocurrencies. After the benchmark blockchain asset hit a record high earlier this year, the sector has struggled for traction.

It’s not necessarily a surprising development either. Most prominently, geopolitical flashpoints threaten the stability of critical supply chains. Therefore, the turmoil could easily work its way down to us Americans, much like pouring water on an electric fence.

On another note, inflation has been stickier than experts anticipated. Here, a robust labor market isn’t exactly helping matters. With so many serious challenges surrounding us, it’s simply good practice to consider these steady stocks.

Colgate-Palmolive (CL)

Source: monticello / Shutterstock.com

A consumer defensive play, Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) makes plenty of sense as one of the stable stocks to consider. Operating under the household and personal products category, Colgate manufactures and sells various consumer products. The company conducts business through two units: Oral, Personal and Home Care and Pet Nutrition.

Fundamentally, Colgate benefits from permanent relevance. No matter what’s going on with the economy, people need to care for themselves. As for the company’s pet products segment, the underlying industry in the U.S. clocked in total revenue of $147 billion last year. That metric demonstrates continued growth in the space despite broader consumer headwinds.

For the current fiscal year, experts anticipate earnings per share of $3.49 on revenue of $20.15 billion. That’s a modest improvement over last year’s results of $3.23 per share on sales of $19.46 billion. Combined with a forward dividend yield of 2.25% and a strong buy assessment among analysts, CL is one of the top stable stocks to put on your radar.

Kenvue (KVUE)

Kenvue (KVUE) logo displayed on smartphone with company website in background

Source: shutterstock.com/T. Schneider

Spun off from healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Kenvue (NYSE:KVUE) focuses exclusively on consumer health products. It operates via three segments: Self Care, Skin Health and Beauty, and Essential Health. Per its public profile, Kenvue levers multiple popular brands, including Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and Nicorette, among many others.

For cautious investors, KVUE represents one of the steady stocks thanks to its every day need. From mouthcare to wound care to private hygiene products, Kenvue delivers the goods that people take for granted. Further, the company benefits from generational awareness of its product line. If your family used particular brands, it’s probable that you’ll use them yourself when you branch out on your own.

For fiscal 2024, experts anticipate the company will produce EPS of $1.14 on revenue of $15.63 billion. That’s a mixed view, with EPS last year coming in at $1.29. However, sales landed at $15.44 billion in 2023.

While it’s hardly exciting, Kenvue offers a forward dividend yield of 4.13%. Thus, it’s one of the steady stocks to consider.

Walmart (WMT)

Walmart (WMT) logo on a store front

Source: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

When faced with a challenging economic cycle, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) could be the defensive retail name to choose. Yes, it must be stated that a broader impact to the consumer economy will likely affect WMT stock. At the same time, people just can’t stop all spending. While Walmart carries some cyclical exposure, at its core, it’s a defensive play.

In terms of financial performance, it’s surprisingly robust. No, I wouldn’t characterize the business as lighting up the board. However, in the last fiscal year, the company’s average positive earnings beat came out to nearly 7%. Its worst performance was Q3, where EPS of 51 cents met the consensus target.

For the current fiscal year, experts are anticipating EPS of $2.36, a modest improvement over last year’s $2.22. On the top line, they’re projecting revenue of $673.45 billion, up 3.9% from last year’s tally of $648.12 billion. Further, the next fiscal year could see sales move past the $700 billion mark. It’s not exciting but it’s definitely one of the steady stocks to consider.

McDonald’s (MCD)

McDonald's golden arches

Source: Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock

A fast-food giant, McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) really needs no introduction. It’s a staple of American capitalism. Further, the underlying products carry an addictive quality, perhaps due to the high fat and salt content. What’s undeniable is that the Golden Arches is super convenient. You can be in and out with your order and that makes MCD quite intriguing, especially under social normalization trends.

While McDonald’s isn’t a snazzy investment by any stretch of the imagination, it gets the job done. Last fiscal year, the company’s average positive earnings surprise landed at 9.35%. Its best performance occurred in Q2, with EPS of $3.17 beating out the consensus view of $2.79.

For the current year, experts peg EPS at $12.40, a solid improvement over last year’s print of $11.94. Also, revenue of $26.85 billion represents a 5.3% improvement over 2023’s tally of $25.49 billion. McDonald’s also offers a forward yield of 2.41%, presenting a solid case for steady stocks to buy.

Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft logo close up. Microsoft (MSFT) Flagship Store Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, NYC.

Source: The Art of Pics / Shutterstock.com

While Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is officially listed under the infrastructural software space, it’s difficult to classify the enterprise. It’s really an everyman in the broader technology sector. For one thing, it’s Office 365 suite – which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint among other programs – is indispensable. It’s operating system simply owns the PC market. Notably, the company established a foothold in artificial intelligence with its timely investments.

Even better, the results show up in the financial statements and the charts. Last year, the company’s average positive earnings surprise came out to 8.4%. Its best report was Q3, where it produced EPS of $2.73 against a consensus view of $2.42. Over the past 52 weeks, MSFT stock gained almost 49%.

For fiscal 2024, analysts believe Microsoft can deliver EPS of $11.63 on revenue of $244.21 billion. That’s a significant leap from last year’s results of $9.81 per share on sales of $211.91 billion. Given its current momentum, these expectations seem quite reasonable.

Sempra (SRE)

The logo for Sempra (SRE) is seen at the top of an office building.

Source: Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com

To be fair, utility stalwart Sempra (NYSE:SRE) hasn’t been the most iron tight among steady stocks. SRE is down 5% since the beginning of the year and lost almost 9% of value over the past 52 weeks. That said, it’s difficult to argue with the fundamentals. Based in San Diego, California, Sempra covers a large area of the Golden State.

While there’s always political criticism of California, the fact is that it’s the economic engine of the U.S. As well, it’s a state that features an international border and is home to vital ports facing the Pacific Ocean. Factor in the temperate climate and it’s a highly desirable location. Further, because it’s home to so many businesses, people tend to earn higher wages.

Basically, Sempra’s natural monopoly benefits from a combination of desirability and ongoing economic vitality. That makes the company’s forward dividend yield of 3.44% very credible. In addition, Sempra consistently beats its bottom-line quarterly targets. For the current fiscal year, analysts anticipate EPS of $4.81, an improvement over last year’s $4.61.

Again, it’s credible and so it’s an investment you can trust.

Marathon Petroleum (MPC)

Marathon Oil gas station carport on sunny day with blue sky background

Source: Jonathan Weiss/shutterstock.com

Operating in the oil and gas refining and marketing category, Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) also operates a midstream business. Fundamentally, Marathon should benefit from economic resilience. The world still runs on oil (quite literally). So, even with disruptions and higher energy prices, people must pay up. Otherwise, the consequences of not doing so will outweigh the cost savings.

That’s a terribly cynical way to look at the downstream business but it’s also unavoidable. Further, with the geopolitical backdrop pointing toward a possible supply squeeze via disruptions to global logistics outflows, MPC stock has been on the move. Since the start of the year, shares have gained nearly 31% of equity value. Over the past 52 weeks, they’re up about 62%.

Notably, in Q4 of last year, the company posted an earnings surprise of 80.9%. Therefore, it’s questionable that projections call for fiscal 2024 earnings and sales to decline against 2023 results. Rather, it’s possible that the upper end of the revenue target of $160 billion could be reached. If so, that should bolster the bottom line.

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.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare. Tweet him at @EnomotoMedia.

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