"Ask five economists and you'll get five different answers -- six if one went to Harvard."
That old saw somewhat helps explain the market confusion. But there's another famous maxim: "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst." Given that nugget of wisdom, let's look at some stocks that have survived the worst of times in the past.
With a slogan like "Everyday low prices," it's easy to understand why Wal-Mart
During the subprime crisis, while the Dow plummeted over 50%, Wal-Mart's stock remained relatively flat. Investors got paid a dividend while they weathered the storm. Ironically, it's during the supposed recovery that Wal-Mart has had more trouble, with nine straight quarters of falling same-store sales.
Another seemingly recession-proof retailer is Family Dollar Stores
On the food front, there's McDonald's
The bottom line
Don't stash your savings under the mattress just yet. There are still ways to make or preserve cash in a bear market. And it's possible another recession will be averted, but you should always make room for some safety stocks in your portfolio.
Fool contributor Adam J. Crawford does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's and Wal-Mart, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.