These are interesting times. The markets are doing their best to do the chicken dance. They just can't seem to get their timing down on the clap-clap-clap part.
You don't have time for that kind of nonsense, though. You have bigger portfolio fish to fry. You're worried that your stocks will crater. You have a little money on the sidelines, but you're afraid that buying in now will leave you all wet if a bigger buying opportunity comes around next week.
I hear you. I respect you. I just can't sympathize with the fence straddling.
If you look around long enough, there are always stocks worth buying. There are "defensive" and "recession-resistant" stocks out there that are perfect for you when the market is feeling vulnerable.
I won't bore you with the obvious all-weather stocks. You probably already know all about the health-care players, grocery store chains, banking outfits, and utility stocks that should hold up well in choppy waters. I'm going to take you in a different direction, singling out a few shelf-steady companies that you may not necessarily consider to be picks that will hold up in good times and bad.
Isn't eBay a growth stock? You bet. It's also perhaps the perfect Teflon-coated company. Would a recession hurt the company that watched more than 610 million auction listings this past quarter? Not really. If times are tight, cash-strapped consumers will simply sell items on the site. Waves of corporate layoffs have birthed countless eBay entrepreneurs. This past summer found 734,000 Americans relying on eBay for all or part of their financial livelihood.
I didn't want to take the obvious route by settling for a supermarket chain or huge food conglomerate as a way to play the inevitability of food consumption. Sustenance matters. So let's go with Hain Celestial here. The company is a maker of organic edibles. You may be familiar with some of Hain's product lines, like natural Terra Chips salty snacks, WestSoy milks, and Celestial Seasonings teas. The company was once a great way to play the booming growth of organic grocers, but it's bigger than that these days. Conventional chains have taken steps to expand their whole foods shelf space, and that puts Hain in a unique position to grow within a protected sector.
Despite the subprime lender debacle sending shivers down the spine of the financial services industry, banking has typically held up well in inclement weather. Banks have a steady flow of assets and a somewhat predictable spread. Again, I didn't want to settle for the obvious. I like E-Trade here. As a discount broker, E-Trade is subject to the whims of market enthusiasm and market apathy. However, the company has become a major player in online banking too. It recently rolled out a new checking account product with a 3.25% yield. That's nine times better than the 0.36% national average. It's a great selling point, yet E-Trade will still make a healthy profit off of those accounts.
I could have gone with Wal-Mart
A world of steady stocks
These aren't the only buys for a turbulent marketplace. Taking a peek at the Inside Value scorecard, I see a lot of other companies that are built to weather the storm. CarMax
The deeper I dig into the newsletter's picks, the more I see. It's more than just a coincidence. Philip Durell builds rainy-day portfolios by design. That's the art of value investing. Whether it's an out-of-favor stock that is quietly working on its way up or a quality company that just happens to be trading dirt-cheap relative to its future cash flow potential, Philip's recommendations aren't just built to last. They are built to outlast. It's the ultimate collection of steady stocks for a wobbly world.
Are you ready to be a steady investor in that same wobbly world? I hope you're with me on this. The next time the market is doing that chicken dance. Let them know that you've got the mad skills to nail that clap-clap-clap.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has the chicken dance down pat if you want to see it. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. EBay is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.