As we deal with astonishing market volatility, it might be clear to newer investors why blue-chip stocks should make up some portion of your investments. Those flying high on growth stocks might already be feeling pain as the sector has been beaten down for several months.
If you have a long-term outlook and bought growth stocks because you believe in a company's fundamentals, short-term losses shouldn't bother you too much. At the same time, dips, corrections, and crashes allow anyone to see why stable, established stocks offer a balance to high growth. That's where the Dow comes in.
The Dow, or Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.23%), is an index of 30 large U.S. public companies. These are solid blue-chips representing a cross section of the U.S. economy. With only 30 companies, it's not quite representative of the economy as a whole, and the S&P 500 is a better indicator of the broader market.
But Dow companies have proven their mettle over time, and offer excellent opportunities for long-term investors. Given the state of the market right now, investors should look to the Dow for secure stocks. Three that stand out right now are American Express (AXP 0.11%), Nike (NKE -1.62%), and Coca-Cola (KO -0.82%).
This financial powerhouse is as relevant as ever
American Express made a big comeback in 2021 after revenue declined at the beginning of the pandemic. It's once again in growth mode, expecting revenue to increase 18% to 20% year over year in 2022.
Travel and entertainment, which is typically an important category for its customers, is still suppressed in the current pandemic atmosphere, and as it recovers, it should lead to even more-competitive performance for the credit card company. The company is expecting revenue and earnings per share to grow by double digits in the long term.
American Express has made a very strong pivot from its traditional market of high-income earners to attract millennial and Gen Z spenders, and this group is joining in increasing numbers.
It has also shifted its banking focus to small and medium-size businesses. It now offers a range of services that put it squarely in the center of the fintech revolution, while at the same time being grounded with its long history of financial services focused on credit cards.
American Express stock is up 2% in 2022 while the Dow is down 9%. Yet, the shares still trade at the cheap valuation of 17 times trailing 12-month earnings, making it a compelling buy in this environment.
The unrivaled leader in athletic wear
Many challengers have entered the athletic apparel and footwear sector in recent years, including several that have demonstrated massive success, notably Lululemon Athletica. But none of them comes close to Nike's size and hold on the industry, giving it a considerable moat. Consider that Adidas, which is older than Nike and holds the No. 2 spot, took in $25 billion in trailing 12-month revenue while Nike took in $46 billion.
Nike suffered considerable sales declines while stores were closed at the beginning of the pandemic, but its robust digital network helped it stay strong, and it's now powering a rebound. The company operates a broad system of direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels that generate loyalty and drive profitability. Powered by a digital presence, it is supported by physical stores. These are all contributing to the company's increased dominance in its industry.
Fiscal 2022 third-quarter sales (ended Feb. 28) increased 5% year over year to nearly $11 billion, with Nike Direct sales up 15% and digital up 19%, including 33% in North America. The success with DTC helped margins improve year over year despite a slight drop in net income due to continued supply-chain issues.
Nike stock is down 33% this year, about double the S&P 500's decline. That makes this an excellent time to double down on this top stock that should perform well for years into the future.
A secure and growing dividend superstar
Coca-Cola has made a stunning recovery from pandemic declines, moving into high growth mode to surpass 2019 levels. It's the largest beverage company in the world, with $38.7 billion in 2021 net revenue. In the 2022's first quarter, Coca-Cola continued building with a 16% sales increase over last year as well as improved margins and increased earnings per share.
Even at its size, it has been able to drive higher sales through innovation in its drink selection, more efficient network management, and digital development. The beverage giant recently launched a DTC digital presence, and there have been 35 billion downloads of its Coke On app. This not only creates digital sales, but the improved engagement also leads to loyalty and higher sales down the line.
Coca-Cola is still dealing with supply-chain pressures and fluctuating demand in regions where there are pandemic restrictions, including China. That's weighing on the top and bottom lines, but it means more opportunity when the economy improves.
Coca-Cola stock is up 9% this year despite market volatility, demonstrating how this safe stock can provide security under adverse market conditions. It also pays a storied dividend that yields 2.7% at the current price.