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5 Safe Stocks to Buy as Inflation Rattles Wall Street

Relentless high shelter prices weighed on consumers, with broader price pressures increasing more than anticipated in January. The Labor Department noted that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the prices of indispensable goods and services that American citizens have to bear, increased 0.3% month over month in January, more than the estimated monthly increase of 0.2%.

The yearly consumer inflation rate may have fallen to 3.1% in January from December’s 3.4%, but it still hasn’t declined below the 3% mark since March 2021. So, the annual rate of inflation remained elevated and came in more than the estimated annual gain of 2.9%.

The so-called core CPI that eliminates the volatile food and energy prices advanced 0.4% month over month and 3.9% from the year-ago levels. The estimates were of a rise of 0.3% and 3.7% sequentially and year over year, respectively.

Shelter prices account for almost one-third of the CPI weightings, and jumped 0.6% month over month and 6% from a year ago. Food prices also moved higher, increasing 0.4% month over month. Egg prices, in particular, increased, while airline fares and electricity costs went up.

Due to such hotter-than-expected inflation data, market participants are now pushing back the timing of the first interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. The central bank is expected to trim interest rates several times this year, a key move that should help the stock market scale northward. After all, rate cuts boost consumer outlays, increase business investments, and help the economy chug along.

However, January’s inflation figures have compelled investors to scale back bets on a May rate cut, with experts expecting that there is only a 36.7% chance that the Fed will trim interest rates by a quarter-point, per the CME FedWatch tool. The expectations are, at this point, down 60% from last week.

No doubt, hot inflation resulted in a lot of gyration in the stock market, with the 30-stock Dow posting its worst one-day percentage decline on Feb 13 since March 22, 2023. The S&P 500 fell below the 5,000 mark, while the tech-laden Nasdaq ended in the red.

But investors shouldn’t shun equities completely! Instead, they should place bets on stocks such as Eagle Bancorp Montana EBMT, Duke Energy DUK, Kinder Morgan KMI, VICI Properties VICI and Tyson Foods TSN that remain unfazed by the hiccups in the broader market and provide a steady stream of income.

These stocks have a low beta (ranging from 0 to 1), making them immune to market vagaries. These stocks also provide dividends, meaning they have a solid business model that helps them counter market upheavals. They have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Eagle Bancorp Montana offers various deposit and loan products and services. The company has a beta of 0.56 and a Zacks Rank #1. EBMT has a dividend yield of 4.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 14.8% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 32.6%.

Duke Energy is a diversified energy company. The company has a beta of 0.48 and a Zacks Rank #2. DUK has a dividend yield of 4.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 0.5% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 7.6%.

Kinder Morgan is a leading midstream energy infrastructure provider in North America. The company has a beta of 0.91 and a Zacks Rank #2. KMI has a dividend yield of 6.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 1.7% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 11.2%.

VICI Properties is a real estate investment trust. The company has a beta of 0.91 and a Zacks Rank #2. VICI has a dividend yield of 5.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its next-year earnings has moved up 0.5% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 11.4%.

Tyson Foods produces, distributes and markets chicken, beef and pork as well as prepared foods. The company has a beta of 0.77 and a Zacks Rank #1. TSN has a dividend yield of 3.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 23.2% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 74.6%.

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Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. (EBMT) : Free Stock Analysis Report

VICI Properties Inc. (VICI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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