With the potential of a full recession looming in the coming quarters, investors are looking for defensive plays, such as dividend-paying stocks and businesses more resilient in economic downturns.
Looking at Tuesday’s market close, XRT, a.k.a. Granny Retail, was up 1.1%, along with Costco (1.22%), Walmart (2.59%), Kroger (3.52%), and Target (0.91%). Yet the S&P 500 closed lower by 0.54%, while the NASDAQ fell by 1.20%.
We know that during tough times, people need reliable products and services they can count on. Our two featured stocks today may benefit by offering high-demand goods even when the economy is struggling.
Grocery e-commerce is a fast-growing category still, and most investors focus on Amazon (AMZN), yet Kroger (KR) and Walmart (WMT) are also leaders. Both companies have shown resilience and are expected to continue recovering and performing well even as the economy weakens.
Walmart, the global discount leader in retail and online shopping, and Kroger, a diversified grocer working to capture more offline and online market share, are looking to expand their reach in this challenging environment.
Walmart is still growing store revenue, grocery sales, and e-commerce. The company has made several acquisitions to improve customer experience. The most notable is the e-commerce platform Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce business platform that rivals Alibaba. Walmart+ is also a growing force, with the addition of Paramount+ streaming, and Walmart+ members spend almost double in comparison to regular customers. Walmart has seen low but stable growth in consumer sales, which stands out from other sectors of the economy.
Looking at Kroger, which is based in Cincinnati and is the second-largest grocer by revenue, the company operates supermarkets under various banners, including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, Mariano’s, Pick n Save, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. Kroger is also the largest floral retailer in the US and the fifth-largest pharmacy. Kroger manufactures and sells private-label goods, so it is positioned to benefit from rising food costs.
Kroger also operates convenience stores and fine jewelry stores under names like Fred Meyer Jewelers and Littman Jewelers.
Kroger and Walmart both have billion-dollar repurchase stock plans, which serve as additional catalysts for growth, and each offers an attractive dividend.
Despite concerns about inflation, inventory, and supply chain disruptions, Walmart and Kroger reported relatively strong earnings in their most recent quarters. Walmart and Kroger still have potential business risks, mainly due to Granny Retail’s uncertain resilience, which could be impacted negatively in a lengthy recession. However, goods such as food and personal products that consumers rely on daily, tend to generate solid profits for select retail chains even in weak economic conditions.
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- S&P 500 (SPY): 355 support, 360 resistance.
- Russell 2000 (IWM): 165 support, 171 resistance.
- Dow (DIA): 290 support, 296 resistance.
- Nasdaq (QQQ): 260 support, 265 resistance.
- KRE (Regional Banks): 58 is support, 61 resistance.
- SMH (Semiconductors): 174 support, 180 resistance.
- IYT (Transportation): 196 support, 203 resistance.
- IBB (Biotechnology): 116.59 is now support, 120 resistance.
- XRT (Retail): 57 is now support, 60 resistance.
Director of Trading Research and Education