Do You Have These Defensive Stocks On Your March 2022 Watchlist?

Among the main concerns on investors’ minds now would be the ongoing war in Ukraine and upcoming interest rate hikes. With these two daunting factors to consider moving forward, defensive stocks could be in focus in the stock market now. Overall, markets have and continue to remain volatile as fighting between Ukraine and Russia enters a second week. On this front, Russian forces have reportedly seized a nuclear power plant in Ukraine. With all this in mind, it would make sense that investors are keen to go on the defensive now.

For those uninitiated, defensive stocks mainly consist of firms that operate in vital industries. The likes of which see constant demand for their offerings, regardless of economic cycles. Additionally, some would also look at companies that offer regular dividends as well. To highlight, notable examples now would be oil firms such as ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and retailers like Target (NYSE: TGT). On one hand, ConocoPhillips is a prominent oil industry player that offers a 2.4% annual dividend and remains in focus amidst rising oil prices. On the other hand, Target has a 1.6% annual dividend and recently posted solid figures in its latest quarterly financial update. Safe to say, there is no shortage of exciting news in the defensive segments of the market. Could one of these defensive stocks be top picks in the stock market today?

Defensive Stocks To Watch Right Now

Costco Wholesale 

Costco would be a notable name in the defensive space to consider now. After all, the company mainly operates as a big-box retailer. In essence, this translates to a retail store that allows shoppers to purchase groceries in large amounts. This would prove to make Costco a go-to for plenty of consumers during the initial onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

best retail stocks to buy (COST stock)

Since it reported earnings after yesterday’s closing bell, investors could be taking a closer look at COST stock now. All in all, Costco beat consensus estimates across the board. It posted a total revenue of $51.9 billion alongside earnings of $2.94 per share. For reference, this is versus Wall Street forecasts of $51.47 billion and $2.74 respectively.

According to the retailer, consumer spending habits remain strong as pandemic-era goods continue to fly off shelves. At the same time, Costco notes that there is also growing demand for its high-margin offerings. Moreover, Costco is also looking at a comparable sales gain of 11.1% year-over-year. This is well above general estimates of an 8.74% rise. According to CFO Richard Galanti, the company continues to stay in stock while mitigating cost and price increases now. This would be despite global supply chain pressures. With all this in mind, would COST stock be worth watching in your books?

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Algonquin Power & Utilities

Algonquin Power & Utilities, or AQN for short, is a Canadian renewable energy and regulated utility conglomerate. For the most part, the company actively invests in hydroelectric, wind and solar power facilities, and utility businesses. Additionally, it does so through its three operating subsidiaries. The three being the Bermuda Electric Light Company, Liberty Power, and Liberty Utilities. Yesterday, the utility company yesterday reported its rather steady quarterly earnings. 

aqn stock

Diving in, revenue for the quarter came in at $594.8 million, up by 21% year-over-year. Moving on, its adjusted net earnings were reported to be $136.3 million, a gain of 7% compared to a year ago. Other highlights include its agreement to acquire Sandhill Advanced Biofuels, a renewable natural gas development platform.

Notably, Sandhill specializes in anaerobic digestion projects located on dairy farms. AQN also provided its guidance for the year. Namely, it estimates adjusted earnings per share to be within the range of $0.72 to $0.77 for the fiscal year 2022. With that being said, would you invest in AQN stock?

AbbVie

Following that is leading biopharmaceutical company AbbVie. It primarilyfocuses on developing treatments for a wide array of therapeutic areas. Among the core areas of AbbVie’s focus are immunology, neuroscience, eye care, oncology, and gastroenterology. Additionally, the company also offers aesthetics-based treatments via its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. In the past year, ABBV stock has risen by over 40%. On Tuesday, the company announced that it finally completed its acquisition of Syndesi Therapeutics. 

best dividend stocks (ABBV stock)

Evidently, this acquisition will help to expand AbbVie’s neuroscience portfolio as this gives the company access to Syndesi’s portfolio of novel modulators. Namely, its lead molecule SDI-118 is being evaluated for the potential treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and major depressive disorder.

CEO Jonathan Savidge says, “I am delighted with the closing of this deal. It has been a pleasure to partner with our investors to investigate the potential of SDI-118 in early clinical studies. Now, as part of AbbVie, the program is well-positioned to move into later stages of clinical development.” Given the potential of its lead molecule, is ABBV stock a buy?

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Energizer

Energizer is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of primary batteries and portable lighting products. It is also a leading designer and marketer of automotive fragrance and appearance products. The company’s brands include Energizer and Eveready. For a sense of scale, Energizer has six operational facilities in the U.S. and one in Singapore for the markets in Asia and Oceania. Last month, the company reported its fiscal first-quarter financials. 

ENR stock

Net sales came in at $846.3 million for the quarter thanks to strong demand and pricing actions. In addition, the company also said that it enjoyed increased distribution and improved fill rates. Besides, the company reported earnings per share of $0.83 for the quarter.

Furthermore, it reaffirmed its fiscal-year outlook for net sales and adjusted earnings per share. Despite the volatile operating environment, the company’s improved inventory planning and supply chain durability has enabled it to deliver one of its most important quarters yet. Considering all this, would you be adding ENR stock to your watchlist?

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