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Stocks With Staying Power


Some stocks are better equipped to withstand troubled times and rough markets.


Nothing feeds fear in the stock market like uncertainty, and nothing spreads fear and uncertainty like a global pandemic.

As coronavirus worries infected the financial markets, stocks tumbled at a record pace. But smart investors are greedy when others are fearful, and this time is no different, says Nellie S. Huang, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Stocks in high-quality companies – financially strong, well-established firms with lots of cash and little debt – are better equipped to withstand troubled times and rough markets. Some even emerge from a crisis stronger.

With that in mind, Huang set out to find stocks with staying power, focusing on companies that lead their industry. Here are five favorites along with analyst ratings of the companies mentioned:

[Ed. NoteTipRanks.com employs powerful algorithms to track over 100,00 Wall Street experts daily and analyzes this data to discover trends that help investors outperform the market.]

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) – The coronavirus should boost Activision’s revenue. With people stuck at home, in search of distractions, many are likely to spend money on one of the company’s popular video games: Call of Duty, Candy Crush or World of Warcraft, among others. The company is in stable financial shape. At the end of 2019, Activision had enough cash to pay off its long-term debt two times over.

TipRanks.com: Based on 22 analysts offering 12 month price targets for Activision Blizzard in the last 3 months: 21 analysts rate ATVI a Buy, and 1 a Sell. The average target price is $78.05 with a high forecast of $84 and a low forecast of $59.

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) – This medical-device company makes robot-assisted surgical systems for minimally invasive procedures, many of which are elective. Many of those procedures have been delayed as health professionals focus on treating COVID-19 patients. Even so, robot-assisted surgeries aren’t going to go away, and Intuitive Surgical dominates this field. The firm has plenty of cash on its books and zero debt.

TipRanks: Based on 17 analysts offering 12 month price targets in the last 3 months for Intuitive Surgical: 8 rate a Buy, 6 Hold, 3 Sell. The average target price is $545.86 with a high forecast of $650 and a low forecast of $365.

Microsoft (MSFT) – Microsoft’s Windows operating system still runs close to 80% of the world’s desktop PCs. Even so, the firm’s future is in its highly profitable cloud business, which accounted for half of the company’s overall revenue in the last quarter of 2019. Microsoft is a sleep-easy stock, with some oomph. Analysts expect earnings to rise at a mid-teens annualized percentage rate over the next three years. At the end of 2019, the company had a war chest of $134 billion in cash and short-term investments.

TipRanks: Based on 22 analysts offering 12 month price targets in the last 3 months for Microsoft: 21 rate a Buy, 1 Hold. The average target price is $197.63 with a high forecast of $0220 and a low forecast of $179.

Nike (NKE) – Nike is holding up well in the new normal, despite having to close stores in spots around the world. Technology is Nike’s secret weapon. Its “customize” option at www.nike.com and its Nike By You service allow shoppers to personalize and design shoes. Global e-commerce sales are increasing at a rate of more than 30% a year, says BofA Securities analyst Robert Ohmes. Sales in stores are growing at a rate in the mid-to-high single digits.

TipRanks: Based on 22 analysts offering 12 month price targets for Nike in the last 3 months: 19 rate a Buy, 3 Hold. The average target price is $96 with a high forecast of $115 and a low forecast of $80.

Visa (V) – If anything, the pandemic may accelerate the global trend toward mobile electronic payments. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, analysts expected the volume of electronic transactions to rise an average of 14% per year through 2022. Visa’s vast payment network has reached “essentially universal acceptance in most developed markets,” says Morningstar analyst Brett Horn. That gives it an edge over smaller e-payment competitors. What’s more, the Visa brand is viewed as “one of the safest and most reliable ways to make payments,” says CFRA analyst Chris Kuiper.

TipRanks: Based on 21 analysts offering 12 month price targets for Visa in the last 3 months: 16 rate a Buy, 5 Hold. The average target price is $198.79 with a high forecast of $220 and a low forecast of $175.

Editor’s Note: Nellie S. Huang is senior associate editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, www.Kiplinger.com.

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