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3 Top Stocks to Recession-Proof Your Portfolio

By Rick Munarriz – Sep 29, 2020 at 10:15AM

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Some investments come with umbrellas and galoshes. Let's size up a few stocks with all-weather appeal.

If you're scared about the market buckling in an economic downturn, check out a streaming video star, specialty retailer, and warehouse club operator built to thrive in all climates.

Roku (ROKU 9.58%), O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY 1.74%), and Costo (COST 1.95%) are some of the top recession-proof stocks that should be making waves this month. Let's peel back back the curtain for a closer look. 

An ocean wave made of cash and coins.

Image source: Getty Images.


Smart TVs keep getting cheaper, and in-home connectivity keeps improving. Streaming services seem built to withstand economic downturns, but why try to single out the good eggs when you can just buy the basket?

Roku is a fast-growing platform with a widening line of gadgetry to get you connected. It's also the operating system of choice for smart-TV manufacturers, so a lot of the 43 million homes with Roku accounts have never had to pay to connect to the hub with access to thousands of apps. 

How does Roku make money if it's free to use and its gadgetry isn't sold for a lot more than cost? It sells advertising like most free-to-use services. The company also gets a piece of the action when it refers consumers to most streaming services. Roku's average revenue per user (invisible to the actual viewer) has risen 18% over the past year to $24.92 over the trailing 12-month period. Stack that on top of the 29% uptick in account growth over the past year, and you have platform revenue surging 46% in Roku's latest quarter.

O'Reilly Automotive

Auto parts may not seem like an all-weather industry at first glance, especially since it's tied to the big-ticket purchase of an automobile. The key here is that car sales may be cyclical and rely on a buoyant economy, but automotive aftermarket parts are forever. 

O'Reilly actually thrives when folks are not buying new cars. The 5,562-store chain has a stronger hold on owners of older cars since those are the vehicles that require more maintenance and replacement parts. Even the recent trend away from auto ownership shouldn't scare you away, since this all translates into more wear and tear on the vehicles being driven around by ridesharing app services. 

It all comes together to deliver predictable growth. O'Reilly Automotive hasn't posted a decline in annual revenue in the past three decades. It's had 27 consecutive years of positive comps, so this streak isn't just about expansion. Even its worst year in that run -- a 4.5% top-line increase in 2017 -- doesn't sound all that bad. 


We need to eat in good times and bad, and there are plenty of grocery chains, dollar stores, and mass-market discounters that hold up well in most scenarios. Costco is attractive here as the undisputed top dog among warehouse clubs.

One can argue that going to Costco requires paying for a membership, but the chain makes the cover charge more than worth it given the razor-thin markups on the products it sells in bulk. If you're wondering how Costco holds up in a recession, you're soaking in it right now. Adjusted comps rose 14.1% for the fiscal fourth quarter it reported last week, with a 9.2% gain for the entire year. 

Recessions aren't often kind to consumer discretionary stocks, but you'll be served well by a free-to-use streaming video platform, an aftermarket auto parts retailer that thrives on milking more miles out of your current car, and a warehouse-club model built to deliver the lowest prices possible to consumers. There are the three top stocks to recession-proof your portfolio.

Rick Munarriz owns shares of Costco Wholesale and Roku. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Roku. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Costco Wholesale Stock Quote
Costco Wholesale
$539.25 (1.95%) $10.29
OReilly Automotive Stock Quote
OReilly Automotive
$864.54 (1.74%) $14.81
Roku Stock Quote
$59.37 (9.58%) $5.19

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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