PepsiCo (PEP 0.14%) stock has been left out of the recent stock market rally. But that underperformance has only made it more attractive for investors seeking stable growth in a volatile economic environment.
In this video from "The Five" from Motley Fool Live, recorded on Oct. 12, Fool contributors Brian Withers and Demitri Kalogeropoulos discuss PepsiCo's strength as an income stock today.
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Brian Withers: Given that the growth in the economy is slowing down a bit, what's the stock that you like right now, regardless of economic conditions over the next year or two? Demitri, I am going to have you up first.
Demitri Kalogeropoulos: Okay, sure. Now that makes sense. I like stocks that don't necessarily need super fast growth to deliver good returns for investors but if they get it, that's a bonus. I'm taking a look at PepsiCo in this environment ticker PEP.
I've mentioned it before, but it's just such an attractive, it's got so many good things going for it. Now, all of its markets of course, went through all these big disruptions during the pandemic.
They're in snacks, they're in breakfasts, they're in restaurants, they're in beverages and so much disruption. Like I said, every one of those niches had wild swings and Pepsi still managed to grow sales at roughly the exact same 4.5% that they did the year before, which was a great year for them. That's a testament to so many good things about the business.
Not only it's management's ability to just manage through that craziness in the supply chain in the manufacturing chain but also there enduring brands that they maintain and all the diversity that's built into that business.
Those are all great things, and of course last year, earnings expanded a bit faster than sales. They've got a bit more profitable and the company delivered so much cash back to investors, particularly in second half of the year through dividends and stock buybacks.
That recipe's is not exactly going to be repeating completely like that than the next year or so, Pepsi, for example, is scaling back a lot on their stock repurchases.
They're spending a lot of money in their supply chain right now, in their manufacturing chain to catch-up to all the extra volume they secured over the last year.
Margins are probably going to drop a little bit now when we have all these costs going up but the company is still investing right where it should. Its getting market share in these massive global industries it's pushing into new attractive areas like energy drinks. It's also got that huge track record for dividend growth. It's about to have its 50th consecutive year of rising dividends to get itself into the dividend king status.
Those are all great assets to have I think in any growth environment, but particularly good in a slowing environment. It helps pad your portfolio I guess and give your portfolio some stability.
The best thing is Pepsi has also been trailing the market here in 2021 and also amazingly over the past five years it's been trailing the market even though the businesses is getting more profitable and as more of a growth focus than it did a couple of years ago. Those are all good reasons to like the stock today.
Withers: That's an interesting one. I know we talked about snack food companies would have been a good investment during the coronavirus and you make a great point in that. It seems like the market hasn't recognized Pepsi's improvement and their business improvement and that's a great opportunity.
This doesn't happen all that often anymore where a company improves it's metrics and the stock doesn't follow. I think because it's not a SaaS company [laughs], or exciting software company or e-commerce, maybe it left out of on the new money parade.
It's absolutely a potential for Pepsi to bounce back and have their stock catch-up with the business over the next couple of years.