- Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL): Being the most valuable brand ever, it’s hard to overlook it.
- Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A, NYSE:BRK.B): A diversified holding company, BRK.B is a bet on everything.
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): While incredibly boring, MSFT caters to work from home and video games.
- Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG): A bit of a dip but household goods are fairly safe wagers.
- UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH): Not the most exciting business but it’s all about slow and steady.
- Progressive (NYSE:PGR): Severe car crashes are on the rise post-Covid-19, cynically boosting PGR.
- DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE): Utilities offer a somewhat safe idea due to their indispensable nature.
Following weeks of turmoil in eastern Europe, the entire international community is hoping for a pathway to peace. Despite the Russian attack on Ukraine being thousands of miles away, its impact has reverberated everywhere. Further, continued violence will only exacerbate present vulnerabilities. Still, no one knows how this crisis will pan out, necessitating consideration of safe stocks to buy.
Now, you shouldn’t be under any false sense of security. By safe stocks to buy, I’m only referring to the segment on a relative basis and in consideration of historical factors. It’s possible that these underlying companies could disappoint irrespective of their label. Nevertheless, you likely stand a better chance of protecting yourself from severe harm should circumstances go awry.
While everyone is hoping for a workable resolution, you know what they say. You can hope on one hand and do something else in the other: The latter is going to fill up faster. Therefore, as a preventative measure, these safe stocks to buy should at least be on your radar.
|PG||Procter & Gamble||$150.46|
Ordinarily, you wouldn’t want to put consumer electronics firms on your list of safe stocks to buy, let alone lead off with one. Too many times, the retail market can be fickle, with consumer behaviors shifting from one extreme to another. However, Apple has proven all doubters wrong, continuing to deliver solid returns year after year.
Much of the enthusiasm can be pegged to the company’s resonance. According to a 2019 article by Inc, Apple became the most valuable brand ever. Indeed, its reach is so significant that when the company decided to stop product sales in Russia, the loss of convenience and utility was felt immediately among the nation’s upwardly mobile demographic.
Moving forward, we could be talking about Apple diplomacy rather than U.S. diplomacy. In its fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, Apple rang up $365.8 billion, a whopping 33% higher than its year-ago tally. This business isn’t going anywhere, making it one of the most confidence-inspiring safe stocks to buy.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B)
Much more aligned with what you may consider traditional safe stocks to buy, Berkshire Hathaway reminds me of a statement that my InvestorPlace colleague Dana Blankenhorn made. It has been many years so I can’t remember the story itself. However, Blankenhorn stated that when dealing with the unknown, it’s positive to spread your bets across a wide net. That way, at least something is going to move higher.
Well, that’s basically the ethos behind BRK.B. Plenty of folks on the internet ask, what exactly does Berkshire Hathaway do? The answer is pretty much everything. From insurance to transportation to retail, the house that legendary investor Warren Buffett built — well, I should say made famous — covers seemingly everything of relevance.
Heck, remember when Buffett labeled cryptocurrencies as akin to rat poison? He has changed his tune, with Berkshire buying $1 billion worth of stock in a digital bank specializing in virtual currencies, per a Fortune report.
I’d say you’re in pretty good hands with BRK.B
Whether we’re talking about safe stocks or boring or reliable or whatever label you want to put on it, chances are, I’m going to mention Microsoft. An oldie but a goodie, MSFT might not seem like a great idea at the moment, having shed about 12% on a year-to-date basis.
Conspicuously, with the S&P 500 index down 9% over the same frame, MSFT appears more volatile than usual. However, this might be a good time to advantage a discount.
First, Microsoft may provide a fundamental hedge against societal pivots. Personally, I’m a little bit skeptical about the idea of permanent work-from-home transitions, considering the potential productivity loss and lack of controls and accountability. But if the situation does become permanent, Microsoft’s myriad platforms offer practical solutions to make the most out of the new paradigm.
Second, the company is a massive video game brand, which is a license to print money. Per Fortune Business Insights, experts project the segment to grow from $229.2 billion in 2021 to nearly $546 billion in 2028.
Procter & Gamble (PG)
During a discussion with famed journalist Sean Callebs of CGTN America, I mentioned in part that if the Federal Reserve is going to successfully manage the consumer inflation crisis, it must formulate a game plan and commit to it, ignoring political pressure to unleash the easy monetary spigot.
We’ll see how this will go. For what it’s worth, I’m hoping the Fed has the courage to pop the various asset bubbles that have sprouted because the rising prices in my view are becoming unsustainable.
Nevertheless, if our elected officials insist on maintaining a feckless approach, you’re going to want to add Procter & Gamble to your list of safe stocks to buy. I can already see the eyeballs rolling. It’s boring, it’s uninspiring … but it’s worth it.
Fundamentally, consumers will give up discretionary items before necessary goods and services. We saw that with the initial onset of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in a sharp protective pivot in spending behaviors. If things get squirrely again, PG may cynically benefit as one of the safe stocks to buy.
UnitedHealth Group (UNH)
Another boring segment among safe stocks to buy, health insurance is something you don’t really think about it until you need it, unfortunately. Well, following the Covid-19 pandemic, plenty of people are thinking about their health plans, which bodes well for UnitedHealth Group.
When the crisis first capsized us, the expectation among analysts was that a loss of health insurance would follow massive job losses. Instead, as the Legislative Analyst’s Office for The California Legislature’s Nonpartisan Fiscal and Policy Advisor stated, “health care coverage has either remained steady or potentially increased during the pandemic.”
While I don’t want to read too much into any one data point, it’s possible that a once-in-a-blue-moon threat caused people to wake up about their own health profile and protection. Therefore, should we encounter another crisis — say an unforeseen recession — UNH could be one of the safe stocks to buy.
Yet another business category you don’t ponder much about until an emergency erupts, Progressive is one of the most recognized insurance firms. That’s thanks to Flo, the fictional salesperson that has been at the center of the company’s quirky (and thereby memorable) commercials.
You can acquire PGR for its general relevance as one of the safe stocks to buy. However, I’m specifically eyeballing PGR for its auto insurance business. As the New York Times (sadly) mentioned:
“Crashes — and deaths — began surging in the summer of 2020, surprising traffic experts who had hoped that relatively empty roads would cause accidents to decline. Instead, an increase in aggressive driving more than made up for the decline in driving. And crashes continued to increase when people returned to the roads, later in the pandemic.”
Admittedly, it’s cynical to think about this but here’s the reality: Our roadways aren’t getting any safer, which should boost demand for Progressive.
DTE Energy (DTE)
Formerly known as Detroit Edison until 1996, DTE Energy is a diversified energy firm specializing in the development and management of energy related businesses and services in the United States and Canada. Serving multiple areas in Michigan with electric and natural gas utility services, DTE may not be the biggest name in its sector but is well worth consideration.
That’s because population trends may pivot in favor of the Wolverine State. True, U.S. Census data suggests that growth is the second slowest in the country. But that data was taken between 2010 and 2020, before the inflation crisis became a massive concern.
Should we get no relief from rising costs, many folks from out of state may simply bite the bullet and consider moving to Michigan, which would be more affordable on a relative basis. More people would translate to greater revenue potential for DTE, making it one of the safe stocks to consider.
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.