General Mills (GIS)
General Mills is a household name that boasts more than 100 brands in 100 countries. You’d be hard-pressed to find a supermarket aisle without at least one product from this multinational food maker.
The stock’s five-year beta is 0.6, meaning it’s about 40% less volatile than the overall market.
While General Mills’ pandemic sales boost is largely over — revenue increased just 3% in the latest quarter — shares have slid in recent weeks, serving dividend investors a tasty opportunity.
Management anticipates consumers will continue to prepare meals at home at a higher rate compared to pre-pandemic levels. Couple that outlook with the stock’s 3.5% dividend yield and General Mills looks like a steady bet in uncertain times.
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Verizon Communications (VZ)
Verizon is one of the world’s largest telecom companies, with about 94 million wireless retail connections, 7 million broadband connections, and 4 million Fios video connections.
The stock’s five-year beta is 0.5, half as volatile as the overall market.
The company’s second-quarter report topped expectations, with management crediting its strong growth to an “increase in 5G phone adoption [and] customer and sequential wireless service revenue growth.”
Verizon expects 2021 total wireless service revenue to grow between 3.5% and 4% this year — up from estimates of 3% earlier in the year. Given its attractive wireless tailwinds, and fat 4.5% dividend yield, now might be the time to make this low-volatility play.
Like General Mills, Costco experienced a pandemic sales boom. Whether you need batteries or butter, canned chickpeas or clothing, Costco offers a one-stop shop.
In the company’s most recent quarter, net sales jumped 22% from the same period last year to US$44.4 billion.
The stock’s five-year beta is just 0.6; particularly impressive considering how well the stock has performed in recent years. Over the past five years, Costco shares have provided an average annual return of 23%, versus the historical stock market average of 10%.
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The best way to invest in these companies depends on your unique situation.
For those with a bit more cash to spare, working with a robo-advisor can help you build a portfolio compatible with your risk tolerance, and that grows alongside your financial situation.
If you’re working with a smaller budget, you may want to use an investing app that allows you to buy “slices” of shares in big-name companies and comes with no fees or commissions.
Another low-budget option is using an app that allows you to invest with just your “spare change,” rounding up to the nearest dollar on all your purchases to help you build a diversified portfolio over time.
And those looking to take control of their investments should certainly explore online trading platforms. The best sites offer resources and tools to help investors make informed decisions as they build and manage their investment portfolios.
Whichever platform you choose, low-beta stocks can help defend (and grow) your portfolio over the long haul.
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