The good news about markets hitting new lows is that investors can snap up deals on stellar stocks that rarely go on sale. Nearly every member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average is in negative territory for 2022, with many stocks down 20% or more.

Coca-Cola (KO -0.73%) isn't in that camp. The beverage giant is trouncing the market so far this year -- down a little over 4% versus 20% for the Dow. That's thanks to its impressive earnings outlook and expectations that its business can sail through any potential recession on the way.

With that big picture in mind, let's look at whether Coca-Cola stock seems like a good buy right now.

Set for success

In many ways, Coca-Cola was built for this moment. Demand has spiked through most of 2022 as consumers shifted spending toward things like travel and experiences after two years of social distancing. Coke's business was hit harder than PepsiCo's (PEP -1.03%) during the earlier phases of the pandemic because it gets more sales from on-the-go drinks. That focus set the foundation for a bigger rebound.

Organic sales in the second quarter jumped 16%, in fact, compared to Pepsi's 9% increase. Coke got a boost from general pandemic-related demand shifts, but also from effective growth initiatives. It has made new inroads into sports hydration, energy drinks, waters, and zero-calorie sodas, for example.

It is winning market share with new releases like Coke Starlight, even as it extends into categories like flavored alcoholic beverages. "We're making targeted investments to unlock our growth agenda," CEO James Quincey said in a late-July conference call.

Margin performance

Coke is also outperforming on the earnings front. Sure, profitability is down thanks to soaring costs and the impact of the strengthening U.S. dollar. But the company isn't struggling to raise prices, in part by offering more mini versions of its popular drinks. The business is finding room to cut costs, too, while capitalizing on Coke's dominant industry position.

KO Operating Margin (TTM) Chart

KO Operating Margin (TTM) data by YCharts

Earnings rose 4% in the most recent quarter despite these cost and currency exchange challenges. That fact alone helps explain why Wall Street still loves this stock today.

Is it a good buy?

The case for waiting on the stock is simple. While its products are recession-resistant, a consumer spending pullback would inevitably hurt sales and earnings. Coke's global business is sensitive to market-specific challenges, too, like the recent pandemic lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine. A stronger dollar will pressure returns, likely into 2023.

But Coke also boasts one of the steadiest growth profiles an investor can find in the consumer space. Sales of branded beverages expand predictably and don't tend to be among the top products that people switch away from during a downturn. Coke's financial strength and growing dividend also make it appealing to investors seeking stability.

If these factors fit your investing goals, then it doesn't make sense to try to wait on buying the stock in hopes of finding an even better purchase price. Attempting to time the market can pay off at times, but more frequently will leave you out of the next market upswing.

The general climate around stocks is bearish today, and that negative sentiment could stretch on for a few more weeks or months. But Coke's business is highly likely to be setting new sales and earnings records three years from now. That's the key factor investors should prioritize when considering buying the dividend stock today.