We’ve just made it through the worst of a global pandemic, and, in many respects, Covid-19 has served as a dry run for what life might be like in an apocalypse. To be sure, an apocalypse could be a little more intense than the pandemic was, but sheltering in place, relying on remote communications, and stockpiling food will no doubt be the same.
And while an apocalyptic event might seem far off or the stuff of science fiction, preparing for a global disaster is actually not that far-fetched. Certainly governments around the world take the threat seriously and continue to prepare for various cataclysmic scenarios. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia runs a legitimate “Zombie Preparedness” webpage. As far back as 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense developed a strategy for a zombie apocalypse.
Other disaster planning involves asteroids hitting earth, a viral outbreak and, of course, nuclear war. Between 2005 and 2019, leading up to Covid-19, the U.S. federal government spent $460 billion on disaster assistance and preparedness, mostly related to natural disasters such as flooding, tornadoes and wild fires. Clearly, planning for an apocalypse is no joke.
Here are seven of the best stocks to own in the event that an apocalypse actually happens (or just another event that feels apocalyptic):
- Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB)
- Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)
- Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST)
- Iridium Communications (NASDAQ:IRDM)
- Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWBI)
- Crown Castle International (NYSE:CCI)
- Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
Best Stocks for an Apocalypse: Campbell Soup (CPB)
You’ve got to stock the fallout shelter with plenty of food, and nothing keeps better than Campbell’s soup. There was a run on Campbell’s soup early in the Covid-19 pandemic, and for good reason. When people think of stockpiling food supplies, they turn to soup. It’s hearty, comforting, makes for a great lunch, and has a shelf life that can outdo most other canned goods. And while an apocalypse would be unfortunate for all of us to have to survive, CPB stock could use the lift that would inevitably come from an increase in sales of its flagship soups.
After getting an initial boost in its share price in the early months of the pandemic, CPB stock has slumped. The company’s share price has fallen 14.5% in the past 12 months and is down 12% so far in 2021 at $43.22 a share at the start of August 4. Campbell Soup is doing its best to keep sales buoyant and remain relevant even without a catastrophic event. The Camden, New Jersey-based company recently announced the first redesign of its soup cans in 50 years.
The can’s distinctive red and white color remains, but the Campbell’s logo has been updated to a new font that harkens back to company founder Joseph Campbell’s original signature and is similar to the brand’s original label from back in 1898. Hopefully the redesign can ignite a spark in CPB stock. Of course, it’s never too early to start stockpiling a fallout shelter.
Lockheed Martin (LMT)
While an apocalypse could take many forms, including alien invasion and virus outbreak, a global war or nuclear battle between nations is certainly one of the more likely scenarios. And should World War become a trilogy, investors will probably want to move money into shares of Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest defense contractor and a major partner of the U.S. military. The Bethesda, Maryland-based company is involved in all aspects of the military industrial complex, from stealth fighter jets to armored vehicles and tactical missiles.
Today, Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest defense contractor by revenue and receives more contracts from the U.S. federal government than any other company, receiving about $50 billion in contracts in 2017. Plus, Lockheed Martin is involved in numerous cutting edge technologies and innovations, including autonomous underwater and aerial vehicles, artificial intelligence, and robots that are used for surveillance, reconnaissance and to diffuse bombs. The company also has numerous space contracts with NASA.
Bottom line: When things get hairy, Lockheed Martin will be front-and-center with the U.S. military. Year-to-date, LMT stock us up a bit under 2% at $364.49 a share at the start of August 4.
Best Stocks for an Apocalypse: Costco Wholesale (COST)
People can be expected to buy in bulk at the first sign of an apocalypse. And Costco Wholesale remains a top choice when it comes to shopping for quantity. The Seattle-based company absolutely killed it during the pandemic of the past 18 months as people stocked up on food and cooked at home. And Costco has, so far, been able to maintain its momentum. The company just reported June sales that showed 14.1% year-over-year growth in its same-store sales.
Plus, Costco has used the pandemic to push people online and bolster its e-commerce business. The company’s e-commerce sales in June of this year reached a record high, having climbed 18% year-over-year. And that’s on top of 87% e-commerce growth in June 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. A solid e-commerce strategy will no doubt come in handy in the event of an apocalyptic event, especially if we are unable to leave the confines of our home or underground hideaway.
Year-to-date, COST stock is up 13% at $429.16 a share. The stock price has been trending upwards steadily since early March and continues to be lifted by strong quarterly earnings.
Iridium Communications (IRDM)
In addition to food and military firepower, communication will be critically important during a long nuclear winter or other world-altering event. This is why investors will want to own shares of McLean, Virginia-based Iridium Communications. Why Iridium Communications? Because the company operates the Iridium satellite constellation, a network of 66 satellites that orbit the Earth and facilitate voice and data communication from handheld satellite phones and other transceiver units.
Iridium Communications is currently the only company that offers internet and voice service that covers 100% of the planet. Other communications and wireless service providers pay handsomely for access to Iridium Communications’ satellite network. This has helped boost the company’s growth and financial results. Iridium’s second quarter revenue jumped 7% from a year earlier to $150 million, and its billable subscriber count totaled 1.62 million, up 19% compared to 1.36 million subscribers in the same period last year.
In an apocalypse, Iridium Communications could prove to be indispensable. So far this year, IRDM stock has risen 7% to $41.32 a share as of the open on August 4.
Best Stocks for an Apocalypse: Smith & Wesson (SWBI)
When the zombies come, even the biggest pacifists among us will want to be armed. And that’s where Smith & Wesson comes in. The notorious firearm and ammunition manufacturer has been turning out guns for people to buy since 1856. Today the company remains extremely popular with both gun owners and collectors, having manufactured several classic handguns and rifles over the years. And gun sales continue to do a brisk business even without a zombie apocalypse, judging from the 44% year-to-date increase in SWBI stock to its August 4 opening price of $25.17 a share.
SWBI stock has been benefitting from what’s being called the “Biden bump.” Fears that U.S. President Joe Biden will enact tougher gun control legislation, along with calls to defund the police, have driven gun sales to record levels over the past nine months. Smith & Wesson sales recently crossed the $1 billion mark for the very first time. Over the past year, 8 million people in the U.S. bought their very first gun, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data that tracks background checks on new gun owners.
If President Biden causes this type of jump in gun sales, imagine what hordes of invading zombies would do to Smith & Wesson’s revenue?
Crown Castle International (CCI)
Another important part of the communication puzzle during an apocalypse will be internet connectivity, and for that we rely on a carefully constructed and integrated network of cellphone towers. Houston, Texas-based Crown Castle International is one of the biggest real estate investment trusts (REITs) and operators of cell phone towers in the U.S. The company’s network currently includes more than 40,000 cell towers and 80,000 miles of fiber optic cable. We’ll all need Crown Castle International to keep running in the event of an apocalyptic event.
Right now, Crown Castle International is in the process of upgrading its infrastructure to be compatible with fifth generation wireless (5G) internet. Crown Castle has forecast an investment cycle for 5G in the U.S. that is likely to last several decades and spur 7% to 8% annual growth for the company. Crown Castle is also likely to benefit from increased infrastructure spending in the U.S., notably the Biden administration’s proposed $3 trillion spending package designed to improve everything from roads and highways to rural internet access.
CCI stock is up 21% on the year at $195.30 a share at the start of August 4.
Best Stocks for an Apocalypse: Amazon (AMZN)
Online retail juggernaut Amazon got us all through the Covid-19 pandemic, and investors can count on it to get humanity through an apocalypse as well. From toilet paper to flashlights to cookies, there are few items that can’t be ordered online from Amazon, the world’s dominant e-commerce company. The Seattle-based company, which recently got a new chief executive officer in Andy Jassy, has barely broken stride as pandemic restrictions ease. Despite the return of shopping malls and outlet centers, Amazon just reported its third consecutive quarter of revenue that surpassed $100 billion.
Plus, the company’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, also proved invaluable during the pandemic as a place to both store and communicate information. And Amazon is ahead of the apocalyptic curve with its ongoing experiments involving delivery drones and robots operating its cavernous warehouses. Should the unthinkable happen, Amazon will be well-prepared to continue operations and ensure the essentials get delivered to our bomb and fallout shelters, no matter how difficult they maybe to find. AMZN stock recently dropped 7.5% after the company warned of slowing growth in this year’s second half, but the company’s share price is up 8% over the past 12 months at $3,379.35 a share at the start of August 4.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole 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.
Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.