As we approach the end of July, consumer staples stocks are in focus in the stock market. For one thing, this could be due to several underwhelming updates on the state of the economy earlier today. Namely, both the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and initial unemployment claims missed expectations this week. The U.S. GDP rose at a 6.5% annualized rate, well below the Dow Jones estimate of 8.4%. Furthermore, weekly jobless claims came in at 400,000, above the 380,000 estimation. Overall, some would argue that all of this indicates a potential slowdown in the current red-hot economy. As such, consumer staples, whose offerings are in demand in good times and bad, would be gaining traction.

When you pair this with the mentions of another wave of coronavirus cases, I can understand the shift in focus. For one thing, consumer staples will likely continue to cater to the needs of consumers. Companies such as Kroger (NYSE: KR) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) would be notable names to know in the stock market today. Even now, these companies are finding ways to expand their current revenue streams. Specifically, Walmart is now marketing its e-commerce tech to small-and medium-sized retailers through a collaboration with Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE). As you can see, even the consumer staples space remains active now. With that said, could one of these companies be a good investment now?

Best Consumer Staples Stocks To Watch Right Now

Yum! Brands Inc.

Yum! Brands is a consumer staple stock that has over 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries and territories. It is the face behind many popular brands like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. The company’s family of brands also includes The Habit Burger Grill, a fast-casual restaurant concept specializing in made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches, and more. YUM stock closed Thursday’s trading session at $130.31 a share.

Today, the company reported impressive second-quarter results. Firstly, worldwide system sales grew by 26%, with strong double-digit growth in KFC and Taco Bell. Yum! also posted total revenue of $1.60 billion. On top of that, the company posted diluted earnings per share of $1.29, increasing by 91% year-over-year. Yum! says that its strong results are led by record unit development and same-store sales growth. The resilience of its diversified global business positions it perfectly to drive growth and could provide value creation for its stakeholders. All things considered, will you be watching YUM stock right now?

YUM stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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McDonald’s Corporation

McDonald’s Corporation is a fast-food company that is one of the largest in the world. It has over 39,000 locations in over 100 countries. The company serves over 60 million customers daily and features a wide variety of chicken products, breakfast items, and desserts. Shares of MCD stock ended Thursday’s trading session at $244.02 and have seen year-to-date gains of over 15%. The company, on Wednesday, reported its second-quarter financials for 2021.

Firstly, McDonald’s reported that its global comparable sales were up by 40.5% for the quarter. This includes an increase of 25.9% growth in the U.S. and its international operated markets segment increased by 75.1% year-over-year. Secondly, consolidated revenue increased by 57% to $5.88 billion. Also, it reported a net income of $2.22 billion for the quarter or diluted earnings per share of $2.95. With that in mind, will you consider adding MCD stock to your watchlist?

consumer staples stocks (MCD stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Target Corporation

Target is a retail corporation that is also a component of the S&P 500 Index. The company serves guests in all 50 U.S. states and employs over 350,000 associates. It announced a quarterly dividend of $0.90 per common share in June, a 32.4% increase from the prior quarter. Impressively, this would be the company’s 216th consecutive dividend paid since October 1967 when the company went public. TGT stock currently trades at $261.66 as of Thursday’s closing bell.

In June, it announced Target Forward. The company acknowledged that sustainability is tied to business resiliency and growth and given its scale and size, it can bring positive change for its business. Target Forward will influence every corner of its business and deepen collaboration with its partners. Ahead of its second-quarter earnings on August 8, 2021, the company reported that it had gained more than $1 billion in market share in its first quarter and posted GAAP earnings per share of $4.17 for the quarter. Given the great start the company has had in 2021, will you watch TGT stock?

best consumer staples stocks (TGT stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Beyond Meat Inc.

Another upcoming name in the consumer staples space now would be Beyond Meat Inc. Now, while most would not immediately think of the company when discussing consumer staples, its products continue to gain traction. In brief, Beyond Meat primarily produces and markets plant-based meat substitutes. The likes of which are known to emulate the taste of meat to a high degree of success. Now, the company offers its revolutionary products in a variety of forms. This includes but is not limited to meatballs, ground meat, and sausages.

As it stands, BYND stock is currently trading at $124.56 a share as of Thursday’s close. Given the current focus on sustainability, could BYND stock be worth buying now? Well, to highlight, the company is also actively working with several global consumer staple names now. As of this week, the company is expanding its existing partnership with Yum Brands subsidiary Pizza Hut. In detail, Beyond Meat’s Italian Sausage and Beef crumbles are now a permanent part of Pizza Hut’s U.K. delivery menu. This would be a solid win for Beyond Meat, bolstering the company’s market reach significantly. With this in mind, would you consider BYND stock a top watch now?

BYND stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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PepsiCo Inc.

Last but not least, we will be taking a look at a leading player in the global beverage market, PepsiCo. Most consumers today would be familiar with the company’s industry-leading food and beverage portfolio. Notably, the company’s portfolio is home to renowned brands such as Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, and Tropicana. Through all of this, the company generated a whopping $70 billion in net revenue for the fiscal year 2020. Given its operations spanning over 200 countries and territories globally, this would be the case. PEP stock now trades at $156.81 a share as of Thursday’s closing bell.

By and large, it seems like the company is seeing continued momentum on the financial front now. We can see this in its recent quarter fiscal posted earlier this month. In it, PepsiCo reported earnings per share of $1.72 on revenue of $19.22 billion for the quarter. More importantly, these figures crushed Wall Street’s estimates of $1.53 and $17.96 billion respectively. At the same time, the company also increased its quarterly dividend by 5% to $1.075. With PepsiCo seemingly kicking into high gear now, will you be keeping an eye on PEP stock?

top consumer staples stocks (PEP stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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