Tuesday was another rough day on Wall Street, and just like on Monday, the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 2.91%) took the brunt of the damage. The Nasdaq was down more than 2.5% at 1 p.m. EST, while some other stock benchmarks fell less than 1%.
As we saw on Monday, high-flying Nasdaq stocks like Tesla were among the big losers, giving back some of the huge gains they've enjoyed over the past year. However, as investors take their profits on tech stocks and other long-term winners, they're trying to gauge what stocks will do best in a changing market environment. That's left them hungry for stocks in the traditionally defensive food and beverage industry, and some Nasdaq investors will be surprised to find two of the giants of the consumer staples sector within the Nasdaq-100 index of top stocks listed on the exchange. Both PepsiCo (PEP 0.59%) and Mondelez International (MDLZ 1.50%) are up on the day, and they have attractive features that make them interesting ideas for any investor.
Snack on these stocks
PepsiCo is best known for its namesake cola, but many investors don't realize just how extensive the company's product line is. Among other beverages, you'll find Tropicana juices, Bubly sparkling water, and Pure Leaf tea, along with the SodaStream line of home carbonation machines.
PepsiCo also has a variety of snack options. The Frito-Lay segment includes products like Lay's potato chips, Doritos, and Smartfood, while you can also pick up Sabra hummus, Quaker Oats, and Life cereal.
Meanwhile, Mondelez isn't really a household name in any sense, but its most popular brands are. On the snack side, you'll find Oreo and Chips Ahoy! cookies, as well as Triscuit, Wheat Thins, and Ritz crackers. Cadbury and Toblerone chocolates fall under the Mondelez corporate umbrella, as does Philadelphia cream cheese and Trident gum.
The argument for stocks like PepsiCo and Mondelez, which were both up as much as 1% as of 1 p.m. EST, is that demand for their consumer products is relatively stable. Sure, when consumers feel the pinch, they can always trade down to store-brand generics or competing products on sale. However, most people feel considerable brand loyalty to their favorite products, especially in the food and beverage area. That helps drive consistent business that makes their businesses resistant to recessions and economic downturns.
Get paid to invest
The other thing that investors in tech stocks and Tesla might be surprised to discover is that PepsiCo and Mondelez will actually pay you cash if you hold shares. It's no secret -- I'm just talking about dividends, which many high-growth Nasdaq stocks choose not to pay in lieu of reinvesting all available capital back into growing their businesses.
PepsiCo's 3.1% dividend yield is more than 1.5 times what you'd get from the broader S&P 500, and far greater than the average for Nasdaq stocks. Meanwhile, Mondelez weighs in with a 2.3% dividend.
Both companies have also done a good job of rewarding their investors over time. Mondelez gave shareholders a 10.5% dividend increase last year and looks poised to do so again in 2021. That would mark the ninth year of annual dividend increases.
For PepsiCo, the streak is even more impressive. Shareholders got a 7% hike in their payout last summer. That marked the 48th straight year in which PepsiCo paid investors more in dividends than it did the previous year.
Not just for tech anymore
Many people don't realize that the Nasdaq isn't just about high technology and newly public disruptors. Well-established businesses like Mondelez and PepsiCo offer the Nasdaq some of the diversity that investors crave, and their defensive characteristics and dividend income serve their shareholders well.