Consumer staples a prudent choice for stocks

The Ticker

October 12, 2001|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

WONDERING what stocks to buy? "While fear rules now, we see excellent values before long," says the S&P Outlook. "Consumer staples stocks are a more prudent choice than those of companies dependent on discretionary spending.

"Recession-resistant consumer necessities [food, beverages, housewares] will hold up well in a weakening global economy.

"Our favorites are Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., Constellation Brands Inc., Hershey Foods Corp., Kraft Foods Inc., PepsiCo. Inc., Fortune Brands Inc. and Tupperware Corp."

GETTING HELP: "When you select a financial planner, look for experience [at least three years working with clients], education, empathy and integrity. Also, you must like and trust your planner, because you won't get far working with someone you aren't comfortable with." (Better Investing)

GOOD NEWS: "Ninety-nine percent of individual investors told pollsters in the week following the World Trade Center terrorist attack that they would not sell any stocks they owned." (Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine)

WALLFLOWERS: "`Unloved' mutual funds can provide lovely returns," says Gabriel Preslar, analyst, Morningstar Inc. "Investors often bail out of funds just as they bottom out. Strategy: Invest money among the three least-popular categories - usually the worst performers for the prior year. Hold them for three years."

MONEY MATTERS: "The horrifying events of Sept. 11 will not cripple the economy. An extra-aggressive Federal Reserve plus sharply increased government spending should provide tremendous economic stimulation." (Personal Finance newsletter)

"This is a wait-and-see game. Between earnings about to be announced and conflicts in Asia, it really doesn't pay to go out on a limb." (John Forelli, Independence Investment Co.

"The stock market remains expensive; fallout from the terrorist attack will be relentless and negative." (Adrian Day, Bull & Bear Monetary Digest)

"I'm bullish. Low interest rates justify above-average price-earnings ratios. Also, the Fed is aggressively trying to reverse the economic slide." (Mark Skoursen, Forecasts & Strategies)

"Stocks are seriously, seriously, major-league oversold. A sharp rally is in the cards." (Frank Barbera, GST Market Fox)

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