With the Fed coming in less dovish than expected this week, there is suddenly much more anxiety in the market. Without a clear direction on rates, and with lingering worries about the economy, the outlook for stocks and bonds is not clear. And as we all know, markets hate uncertainty. Accordingly, the search for the best recession-proof stocks continues, and we have a new proposal today: fast food stocks. As consumer spending falls in a recession, bargain-providing companies, like fast food, often do well. The sector also provides healthy dividends. Take a look at the usual suspects: McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Chipotle, and some you may not have thought of, like Cracker Barrel and Restaurant Brands International.
FINSUM: The “Dollar menu” suddenly becomes very attractive to the American consumer when times start getting tough. These stocks seem a good bet, especially because they have solid dividends, which should provide some protection in case a downturn doesn’t happen.
The market’s outlook grew significantly dimmer yesterday. The Fed made clear that investors should not expect a rate cut in a July, which took the wind out of equity investors’ sails. With that in mind, here is a list of ten stocks that should help investors win in a downturn. The theme here is “low volatility” stocks, or stocks with less risk that should outperform the market in a choppy environment. The list: Aflac, Amdocs, American States Water, Atmos Energy, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, McDonalds, NextEra Energy, OGE Energy, WEC Energy Group.
FINSUM: Given the Fed’s reversal from what the market thought was its stance yesterday, right now does seem like a good time for low volatility stocks.
Restaurants are an area that don’t get much attention in the media, but can be a place where investors can find alpha. With that in mind, we wanted to run some analyst picks that choose the best food stocks. The three names are Dunkin Brands, McDonalds, and Yum! Brands. The case for Dunkin is that though the company has underperformed a little lately, they are poised for a rebound, especially with the new branding of just “Dunkin”.
FINSUM: McDonalds is the most interesting pick for us, as we admire the changes and leadership of the CEO and think updating the menu and the physical restaurants has and will continue to be successful.
McDonalds has been slowly reinventing itself over the last few years. Big menu changes and and healthier items have been a major part of that shift. Now the restaurant chain is doubling down on one its recent focus areas—breakfast. A few years ago McDonalds decided to make a handful of breakfast items available all day. The change was a hit with customers and investors and helped grow sales for the year. However, recently, McDonalds has blamed it for slowing sales as its morning business has actually weakened because consumers can get breakfast items all day. Now it is changing its tact by offering breakfast sandwiches starting at just a Dollar and offering extra-meat breakfast sandwiches all day.
FINSUM: It seems all day breakfast has cannibalized some sales for old Mickey D’s. The dollar menu approach in the morning should help.
McDonalds is taking one of its boldest menu steps in years. The company has announced that it will eliminate all artificial ingredients from its burgers. Ingredients such as calcium propionate and sodium benzoate will disappear from the Quarter Pounder and Big Mac as McDonalds tries to project a more healthy image. The move follows efforts earlier this year to use fresh beef and natural beta carotene in its burgers. Since the changes, many menu items have seen sales increases.
FINSUM: The healthy food movement has reached a significant mass and we think these changes were ultimately a must for the company.