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7 Safe Stocks for Your Retirement

safe stocks - 7 Safe Stocks for Your Retirement

Source: Shutterstock

The markets finished 2021 on a strong note for a variety of plays, including safe stocks. That isn’t too surprising, given that most of the big players at Wall Street trading firms and financial institutions make a lot of their money from their year-end bonuses.

Those bonuses are made up of fund managers increasing assets under management as well as performance relative to a benchmark. But the good times also have some stronger underpinnings.

The economy is starting to digest the huge amounts of money dumped into the system during the pandemic. It’s anticipating the funds committed to infrastructure moving forward. However, it’s important to remember that when the government approves allocations of funds, it takes years to disburse them to companies and individuals.

It’s that long view we’re talking about here. Retirement investing is about finding safe stocks that will continue to grow year in and year out. These aren’t frothy meme stocks or trendy picks; they’re meat and potatoes growth stocks that will be there come what may.

With that in mind, these are seven safe stocks to consider for your retirement fund:

  • The Buckle (NYSE:BKE)
  • Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD)
  • Mueller Industries (NYSE:MLI)
  • Shoe Carnival (NASDAQ:SCVL)
  • Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ:STLD)
  • Valvoline (NYSE:VVV)
  • Origin Bancorp (NASDAQ:OBNK)

Safe Stocks: The Buckle (BKE)

A The Buckle (BKE) store open for business

Source: damann /

Launched in 1948 in Kearney, Nebraska, The Buckle was initially a menswear retailer. Over the years, it expanded its clothing lines and also grew its footprint. Today, it has about 450 retail stores in 42 states.

The Buckle has created a number of house brands that it sells in its stores alongside other brand names. Its private label brands have become popular sellers, and that certainly helps BKE’s margins. It also doesn’t hurt that the company can directly deal with overseas supplies during the supply chain issues that continue to dog retailers.

BKE stock has a $2 billion market capitalization, so it’s not a major retailer. But that’s a good thing, since the bigger retailers are having larger supply chain headaches to deal with. The Buckle has a strong and devoted following, as its mid-market price points mean it can appeal to an array of consumers.

BKE stock has risen 23% year-over-year (YOY), yet the stock still trades at a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio below 9x. It also has a solid 3.4% dividend.

This stock has an “A” rating in my Portfolio Grader.

Gilead Sciences (GILD)

A Gilead Sciences (GILD) sign at the company headquarters in Silicon Valley, California.

Source: Sundry Photography /

As an elite pharmaceutical company, Gilead has been a part of finding solutions to some of the most challenging health issues of recent decades. Its medications are usually developed so that patients only need to take one pill, once a day.

Gilead has one of the leading drugs on the market for human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). It was also a pioneer in getting a hepatitis C drug into distribution.

The company even developed remdesivir (aka Veklury) to address the pandemic, with uses for other coronavirus-type pathogens as well. While Veklury isn’t a vaccine, it has been used to great effect in patients hospitalized for Covid-19, including former President Donald Trump.

The point is, Gilead has a massive pipeline of medications in development. It also has a number of blockbuster drugs that support that pipeline and potential acquisitions.

Now that excitement surrounding the Covid vaccine is calming down, investors will turn their attention back to rock-solid drug companies like Gilead that deliver long term. GILD stock rose a modest 15.6% YOY. But it also has a dividend of nearly 4%, and the stock is trading at a P/E ratio just below 12x. It’s a good value now, and this safe stock will continue to grow for years to come.

This stock has an “A” rating in my Portfolio Grader.

Safe Stocks: Mueller Industries (MLI)

Stacks of copper tubing

Source: Shutterstock

If you want to find a company that is well-positioned for the growth of the consumer around the world, then look no further than MLI stock.

Since 1917, Mueller has specialized in copper and copper alloy products. However, it also produces brass, aluminum and plastic coils, pipes, conduit and other products. The company sells and distributes those items across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

When you think of construction and durable goods makers, these are the fundamental ingredients to making a great deal of products and equipment. Mueller is not a flashy business that’s going grab headlines or become a meme stock. Instead, it’s a safe stock with a solid book of business around the globe.

MLI stock has a $3.4 billion market cap and a P/E ratio under 9x. Yet the stock has risen more than 50% in the past 12 months.

This stock has an “A” rating in my Portfolio Grader.

Shoe Carnival (SCVL)

Image of a Shoe Carnival (SCVL) in Arizona

Source: JJava Designs /

Do you remember the Kmart blue light special? The discount retailer would roll a cart with a blue light to an item or section in a store and announce that the particular item was on sale. That “insider” information was only for customers shopping in the store, which served as motivation and a reward for shopping there.

Shoe Carnival has used a similar concept in its shopping locations. It had upbeat music and in-store specials to instill a sense of fun in its stores. Today, it has hundreds of stores across 35 states and Puerto Rico, as well as an e-commerce site. It focuses on all the top brands of athletic and casual shoes for men, women and children.

SCVL stock has had a big year, up 83% in the past 12 months. However, it’s still trading at a P/E ratio of less than 8x. It has just a $1.1 billion market cap even after that run, which makes Shoe Carnival a good buyout candidate for a larger retailer.

This stock has an “A” rating in my Portfolio Grader.

Safe Stocks: Steel Dynamics (STLD)

a steel frame for a building

Source: Shutterstock

When it comes to infrastructure, the low-interest, low-growth mode the U.S. has been in for over a decade is now gone — and central banks are letting that growth run for now. One thing you need to build out infrastructure is steel, and that’s where Steel Dynamics comes in.

The pandemic helped turbo charge economies around the world, and that amount of spending has meant every major economy is in growth mode. For a steel maker and recycler like Steel Dynamics, that’s great news. The massive infrastructure bill that recently passed also means there’s going to be plenty of work for years to come.

STLD stock has gained more than 50% YOY, largely because a lot of smart investors started taking positions in infrastructure stocks. But it’s not too late to buy shares. The stock is still trading at a P/E ratio below 6x even after its big run. There’s plenty of headroom for growth.

This stock has an “A” rating in my Portfolio Grader.

Valvoline (VVV)

VVV stock: a valvoline sign with a white background and blue and red accents

Source: ricochet64/

When you’ve been around since 1866, there’s a very good chance you’ve found a specific niche to build a competitive moat around. In Valvoline’s case, it certainly helps that it was in the lubricant market before cars — or even gasoline, for that matter — were part of the U.S. economy.

But at this point, VVV stock has a solid market cap of nearly $6.4 billion. It also has a long track record of success with its products as well as its service centers.

Today, Valvoline is the number-three motor oil brand in the U.S. Its 1,400 quick-lube locations make it the second-largest chain by number of stores in the U.S. and the third-largest chain by the same metric in Canada. Its products and services are also available in more than 140 countries as well.

Valvoline is attractive because it’s solid, reliable and continues to maintain its leadership position into its second century of operations. VVV stock has risen more than 48% YOY, yet its P/E ratio is under 16x. Additionally, it has a 1.4% dividend.

This stock has an A rating in my Portfolio Grader.

Safe Stocks: Origin Bancorp (OBNK)

bank stocks A customer makes a transaction at a bank

Source: Africa Studio /

When interest rates rise as they are expected to soon, many people think this will be bad for banks. But the opposite is true. When rates are dynamic, it allows banks to get more of a return on their loans. It also helps their bond portfolios score gains on yields.

For regional banks, this is the best of all possible worlds. They’re not big enough to have massive trading desks like the big national banks. They make money the tried and true way used by traditional banks: making pennies on the dollar.

Origin Bancorp has a history that goes back more than 100 years to Lincoln Parish, Louisiana. Since then, the bank has grown and now serves customers in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

Currently, OBNK stock has a market cap just above $1 billion after a 44% return in the past 12 months. Yet its P/E ratio is slightly above 10, and it has a 1.2% dividend. It’s a great choice for conservative investors that are looking for a solid, safe stock with steady growth.

This stock has an A rating in my Portfolio Grader.

On the date of publication, Louis Navellier has positions in BKE, MLI, SCVL, STLD, and VVV in this article. Louis Navellier did not have (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

 The InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

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