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3 Best Consumer Staples Stocks for Today's Market

What best describes the situation of the financial markets across the globe is one word – “volatility”. With the rising concerns over the uncertain global economy and the still strong U.S. dollar, the stock market has turned into a roller-coaster ride, not finding a bottom. Thus, investors are not left with a lot of options to make profits.

While the news columns mostly highlight the worries in China, soft energy markets, subdued Euro zone recovery and the strong U.S. dollar, the perks in the U.S. consumer spending, improving job market, rising incomes and growth in GDP all signal that the economic outlook for the U.S. has improved. This resilience in the U.S. economy has ruled out the concerns over a near-term recession.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that the U.S. financial markets have also been unstable for quite a while. Amid this volatility in the overall market, stocks in the consumer staples sector can be a safe harbor for investors willing to stay afloat.

The stocks in this sector have been performing reasonably well, buoyed by a moderate economic recovery in the U.S., improving job scenario, better business and renewed optimism as a result of the housing recovery. Also, lower fuel prices and rising wages have raised consumers’ disposable income.

In many cases, commodity costs have stabilized and this in turn, has improved profit margins for certain staples companies. The favorable margins should help offset some of the negative effect that unfavorable currency translations typically has on earnings.

Consequently, we have identified three best picks from the consumer staples sector for your portfolio:

3 Prominent Picks

The Clorox Company CLX

The Clorox Company is engaged in the production, marketing and sale of consumer products in the U.S. and international markets. The company manufactures some of the most trusted and recognized brands in over 24 countries and markets them in more than 100 countries.

Shares of Clorox have been on an impressive run over the past month, rising 3.4%. Moreover, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12.8%. The Oakland, CA-based company has delivered an average positive earnings beat of 6.1% over the trailing four quarters. Further, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2016 has improved from $4.86 to $4.91 over the last 60 days. This was backed by seven upward revisions in this company’s estimates.

Colgate-Palmolive Co. CL

We also recommend Colgate-Palmolive, a leading global consumer products manufacturer with a distribution network spanning more than 200 countries. The company is the world leader in oral care products and one of the leading manufacturers of personal care products.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 stock have gained 5.3% over the last month and have a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.7%. The New York City-based company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 and has met estimates in two of the preceding three quarters. Also, analysts see solid prospects for the company, as the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2016 has trended up over the past two months, from $2.74 to $2.75, thanks to two upward estimate revisions.

Unilever PLC UL

Another stock that stands out is Unilever, a subsidiary of The Unilever Group. The company, operating in the fast-moving consumer goods market in the Africa, Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East, has grown 3.1% over the past month and has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.5%. Also, this London, U.K.-based company has witnessed an uptrend in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2016, which jumped from $2.08 to $2.09 in the last 60 days. The stock currently holds a Zacks Rank #2.

Conclusion

Though the markets do not seem rewarding at the moment, we suggest stock picks like the ones mentioned above, based on price performance, estimate revisions and outlook that can help investors to skim the cream off these frothy markets.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
UNILEVER PLC (UL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
COLGATE PALMOLI (CL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CLOROX CO (CLX): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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