"Ask five economists and you'll get five different answers -- six if one went to Harvard."
That old saw somewhat helps explain the market confusion. But there's another famous maxim: "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst." Given that nugget of wisdom, let's look at some stocks that have survived the worst of times in the past.
With a slogan like "Everyday low prices," it's easy to understand why Wal-Mart
During the subprime crisis, while the Dow plummeted over 50%, Wal-Mart's stock remained relatively flat. Investors got paid a dividend while they weathered the storm. Ironically, it's during the supposed recovery that Wal-Mart has had more trouble, with nine straight quarters of falling same-store sales.
Another seemingly recession-proof retailer is Family Dollar Stores
On the food front, there's McDonald's
The bottom line
Don't stash your savings under the mattress just yet. There are still ways to make or preserve cash in a bear market. And it's possible another recession will be averted, but you should always make room for some safety stocks in your portfolio.