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Best Defensive Stocks To Buy Now? 4 For Your Watchlist

Defensive stocks to consider with the current turbulence in the stock market.
The post Best Defensive Stocks To Buy Now? 4 For Your Watchlist appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket.com.

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4 Trending Defensive Stocks To Watch Right Now

Defensive stocks. Chances are, if you have been keeping up with the latest stock market news, you would have heard of this phrase. For the most part, it comes as no surprise that investors are eyeing this group of stocks now. Even as the broader stock market seems to be on the recovery, there remain several factors contributing to broad-based volatility. Notably, the Federal Reserve is set to commence its two-day monetary policy discussion session today. This would have some investors eagerly awaiting updates on the Fed’s opinions on tapering and “substantial further progress”.

By and large, with the current air of uncertainty, investors would turn to defensive stocks. These are often well-established companies whose businesses are constantly in demand. Additionally, some of the best dividend stocks also fall within this group. Even now, the likes of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA) continue to make headlines.

For starters, JNJ’s Covid booster shot is reportedly 94% effective when given two months after the first dose. Moreover, JNJ’s current findings also suggest that a second dose “increases antibody levels by four to six times” compared to its initial one-dose regimen. Meanwhile, Walgreens is acquiring a $970 million majority stake in Shield Health Solutions, significantly expanding its specialty pharmacy business. All in all, the defensive stock space appears to be active now. Could that make one of these top players worth watching now?

Top Defensive Stocks To Buy [Or Sell] Today

Ford Company

First up, we have Ford, a defensive stock that has gotten a lot of momentum recently in the stock market. For some context, F stock has been up by over 80% in the past year alone and currently trades at $12.78 as of 10:31 a.m. ET. The company is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the U.S. and is known for both its commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and its luxury cars under its Lincoln brand. So what has the company been up to recently?

The company announced last week that pre-production of its all-electric F-150 Lightning trucks has begun. With 150,000 reservations of the immensely popular F-150 trucks to date, the company says that it will invest an additional $250 million and will be adding 450 more direct jobs across three southeast Michigan facilities. It also expects the all-electric F-150 Lightning to go on sale by next spring.

Not resting on its laurels, the company also announced the launch of an autonomous vehicle delivery service in three U.S. cities with Argo AI, and Walmart (NYSE: WMT). This will be Walmart’s first multi-city autonomous delivery collaboration in the U.S. and its last-mile delivery service will use Ford’s self-driving test vehicles to deliver Walmart orders to customers. Given the exciting developments surrounding Ford, will you consider investing in F stock?

defensive stocks (F stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] 4 Semiconductor Stocks To Watch Right Now

Coca-Cola Company

Next up, we have Coca-Cola, the world’s largest non-alcoholic beverage company. The company’s portfolio of brands is consumed by billions all over the world and includes Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, and other sparkling soft drinks. It constantly strives to improve its line of products, from reducing sugar in its drinks to bringing innovative new products to the market. KO stock currently trades at $54.25 as of 10:32 a.m. ET.  In light of that, how has Coca-Cola done financially?

In its latest quarter financials, the company reported a strong second quarter. Diving in, Coca-Cola says that its global unit case volume grew by 18%. Notably, net revenue also grew by a commendable 42% to $10.1 billion. It says that revenue growth was driven by the ongoing recovery in markets where coronavirus-related uncertainty is abating, along with the benefit from cycling revenue declines from the impact of the pandemic last year. The company also posted earnings per share of $0.61, up by 48% year-over-year. With this piece of information, will you consider buying KO stock?

best defensive stocks (KO stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] What Stocks To Buy Today? 5 Tech Stocks To Watch

General Motors

General Motors is a multinational company that focuses on its all-electric future that is accessible to all. The company, like Ford, has announced huge investments in its electrification plans in a bid to move into electric vehicles. Also, General Motors is developing its Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. Together with its subsidiaries and joint venture entities, the company sells vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac brands among others. GM stock currently trades at $49.17 as of 10:32 a.m. ET.

On Monday, the company announced that its Chevrolet Bolt EV battery production will resume. This comes after a recall on its Bolt EVs, with a supplier manufacturing defect that may lead to battery fire under rare circumstances. Its LG battery cell and module production resume with updated manufacturing procedures.

Furthermore, the company outlined a comprehensive action plan to ensure that customers can safely and confidently drive their Chevy Bolt EV and EUV. The action plan includes both hardware and software remedies, some of which are in place with immediate effect. Seeing how the worst could be behind the company, is it time to add GM stock to your portfolio of defensive stocks right now?

defensive stocks to buy now (GM stock)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] Top Stocks To Buy Now? 4 Renewable Energy Stocks For Your Watchlist

FedEx Corporation

Another name to consider among defensive stocks now would be the FedEx Corporation. In brief, FedEx is a Tennessee-based transportation company. The company primarily focuses on transportation, e-commerce, and business services. All of which would be in constant demand even if pandemic conditions continue to worsen. Now, for investors looking to add some defensive stocks to their portfolios, FDX stock could be a go-to. This would be the case given FedEx’s latest moves and upcoming earnings report after today’s closing bell. Now, FDX stock currently trades at $250.69 as of 10:32 a.m. ET.

Overall, Wall Street is expecting FedEx to deliver an earnings per share of $4.96 on revenue of $21.89 billion for the quarter. This would suggest possible year-over-year gains of 7% and 13% respectively. Now, with this being against the backdrop of the company’s solid performance mid-pandemic, these figures are respectable.

Aside from that, FedEx is also hard at work on the operational front. As of last week, the company is now working with enterprise software giant Salesforce (NYSE: CRM). Together, the pair is looking to provide end-to-end e-commerce and supply chain management solutions. After considering all of this, would FDX stock be a top buy for you?

FDX Stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

The post Best Defensive Stocks To Buy Now? 4 For Your Watchlist appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket.com.

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Huge Dock Worker Protests In Italy, Fears Of Disruption, As Covid ‘Green Pass’ Takes Effect

Huge Dock Worker Protests In Italy, Fears Of Disruption, As Covid ‘Green Pass’ Takes Effect

Following Israel across the Mediterranean being the first country in the world to implement an internal Covid passport allowing only vaccinated citize

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Huge Dock Worker Protests In Italy, Fears Of Disruption, As Covid 'Green Pass' Takes Effect

Following Israel across the Mediterranean being the first country in the world to implement an internal Covid passport allowing only vaccinated citizens to engage in all public activity, Italy on Friday implemented its own 'Green Pass' in the strictest and first such move for Europe

The fully mandatory for every Italian citizen health pass "allows" entry into work spaces or activities like going to restaurants and bars, based on one of the following three conditions that must be met: 

  • proof of at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine

  • or proof of recent recovery from an infection

  • or a negative test within the past 48 hours

Via AFP

It's already being recognized in multiple media reports as among "the world's strictest anti-COVID measures" for workers. First approved by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet a month ago, it has now become mandatory on Oct.15.

Protests have been quick to pop up across various parts of the country, particularly as workers who don't comply can be fined 1,500 euros ($1,760); and alternately workers can be forced to take unpaid leave for refusing the jab. CNN notes that it triggered "protests at key ports and fears of disruption" on Friday, detailing further:

The largest demonstrations were at the major northeastern port of Trieste, where labor groups had threatened to block operations and around 6,000 protesters, some chanting and carrying flares, gathered outside the gates.

    Around 40% of Trieste's port workers are not vaccinated, said Stefano Puzzer, a local trade union official, a far higher proportion than in the general Italian population.

    Workers at the large port of Trieste have effectively blocked access to the key transport hub...

    As The Hill notes, anyone wishing to travel to Italy anytime soon will have to obtain the green pass: "The pass is already required in Italy for both tourists and nationals to enter museums, theatres, gyms and indoor restaurants, as well as to board trains, buses and domestic flights."

    The prime minister had earlier promoted the pass as a way to ensure no more lockdowns in already hard hit Italy, which has had an estimated 130,000 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

    Meanwhile, the requirement of what's essentially a domestic Covid passport is practically catching on in other parts of Europe as well, with it already being required to enter certain hospitality settings in German and Greece, for example. Some towns in Germany have reportedly begun requiring vaccination proof just to enter stores. So likely the Italy model will soon be enacted in Western Europe as well.

    Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 07:35

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    China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Cross The Country

    China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Cross The Country

    One week ago we discussed why the "worst case" scenario for China’s property crisis is gradually emerging; to this we can now add that China’s worst case energy crisi

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    China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Cross The Country

    One week ago we discussed why the "worst case" scenario for China's property crisis is gradually emerging; to this we can now add that China's worst case energy crisis scenario is also about to be unleashed as cold weather swept into much of the country and power plants scrambled to stock up on coal, sending prices of the fuel to record highs.

    Electricity demand to heat homes and offices is expected to soar this week as strong cold winds move down from northern China, according to Reuters with forecasters predicting average temperatures in some central and eastern regions could fall by as much as 16 degrees Celsius in the next 2-3 days.

    Shortages of coal, high fuel prices and booming post-pandemic industrial demand have sparked widespread power shortages in the world's second-largest economy. Rationing has already been in place in at least 17 of mainland China's more than 30 regions since September, forcing some factories to suspend production and further disrupting already broken supply chains.

    On Friday, the most-active January Zhengzhou thermal coal futures closed at a record high of 2,226 per tonne early. The contract has risen almost 200% year to date.

    China's three northeastern provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning - also among the worst hit by the power shortages last month - as well as several regions in northern China including Inner Mongolia and Gansu have started winter heating, which is mainly fuelled by coal, to cope with the colder-than-normal weather.

    Meanwhile, even though Beijing has taken a slew of measures to contain coal price rises including raising domestic coal output and cutting power to power-hungry industries and some factories during periods of peak demand, so far all measures have failed with coal surging by 40% in just the past three days. Beijing has also repeatedly assured users that energy supplies will be secured for the winter heating season, and went so far as to order energy firms to "secure supplies at all costs." Well, the energy firms heard it, because on that day, thermal coal closed at 1,436 yuan. Two weeks later it is some 800 yuan higher.

    Unfortunately for Beijing, the power shortages are expected to continue into early next year, with analysts and traders forecasting a 12% drop in industrial power consumption in the fourth quarter as coal supplies fall short and local governments give priority to residential users.

    Earlier this week, we reported that China undertook its boldest step in a decades-long power sector reform when it allowed coal-fired power prices to fluctuate by up to 20% from base levels from Oct. 15, enabling power plants to pass on more of the high costs of generation to commercial and industrial end-users. read more

    Steel, aluminium, cement and chemical producers are expected to face higher and more volatile power costs under the new policy, pressuring profit margins.

    Meanwhile, the latest Chinese "data" on Thursday showed factory-gate inflation in September hit a record high; but since thermal coal is the one commodity that correlates the closest to PPI, absent a sharp drop in coal prices in the next few weeks, expect the next PPI print to be far higher. Meanwhile as the power crisis leads to further shutdowns in domestic production, some banks - such as Nomura - have gone so far to predict that China's GDP is set to shrink in coming quarters.

    China, which laughably aims to be "carbon neutral" by 2060 even as its president announced he will skip the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, has been "trying" to reduce its reliance on polluting coal power in favor of cleaner wind, solar and hydro. But coal remains the source for some 70% of China's electricity needs.

    Of course, China is not the only nation struggling with power supplies, which has led to fuel shortages and blackouts in many European countries. and threatens to send US heating bills up as much as 50% this winter. he crisis has highlighted the difficulty in cutting the global economy's dependency on fossil fuels as world leaders seek to revive efforts to tackle climate change at talks next month in Glasgow.

    China will strive to achieve carbon peaks by 2030, Vice Premier Han Zheng said in a video message at the Russian Energy Week International Forum, according to state-run news agency Xinhua late on Thursday. He also said that China and Russia are important forces leading the energy transition and they should cooperate and ensure smooth progress of major oil and gas pipeline and nuclear power projects.

    Translation: Russia better save that nat gas and not ship it to Europe as China will soon be needed even BCF Russia an provide. As for China

     

    Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 22:50

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    Retail And Food Sales: If It’s Not Inflation, And It’s Not, Then What Is It?

    OK, so we went through the ways and reasons consumer price increases are not inflation, cannot be inflation, are nowhere near actual inflation, and what all that really means. The rate they’ve gone up hasn’t been due to an overactive Federal Reserve,…

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    OK, so we went through the ways and reasons consumer price increases are not inflation, cannot be inflation, are nowhere near actual inflation, and what all that really means. The rate they’ve gone up hasn’t been due to an overactive Federal Reserve, so it has to be something else. This is why, though the bulge has been painful, it’s already beginning to normalize. Without a persistent monetary component (in reality, not what’s in the media) the economy will adjust eventually.

    It already has. Several times, and that’s part of the problem.



    If not money, and it’s not, then what is behind the camel humps? No surprise, Uncle Sam’s ill-timed drops along with reasonable rigidities in the supply chain.

    An Economist might call this an accordion effect. One recently did:

    The closures and reopenings of different industries, coupled with the surges and lags in consumer purchasing during the pandemic, have caused an “accordion effect,” says Shelby Swain Myers, an economist for American Farm Bureau Federation, with lots of industries playing catch-up even as they see higher consumer demand.

    Not just surges and lags, but structural changes that have been forced onto the supply chain from them. With the Census Bureau reporting US retail sales today, no better time than now and no better place than food sales to illustrate the non-economics responsible for the current “inflation” problem.

    When governments panicked in early 2020, they shut down without thinking any farther than “two weeks to slow the spread.” This is, after all, any government’s modus operandi; unintended consequences is what they do.

    The food supply chain had for decades been increasingly adapted to meeting the needs of two very different methods of distributing food products; X amount of capacity was dedicated to the at-home grocery model, while Y had been set up for the growing penchant for eating out (among the increasingly fewer able to afford it). Essentially, two separate supply chains which don’t easily mix; if at all.

    Not only that, food distributors can’t simply switch from one to the other. And even if they could, the costs of doing so, and the anticipated payback when undertaking this, were and are massive considerations. McKinsey calculated these trade-offs in the middle of last year, sobering hurdles for an already stretched situation back then:

    Moreover, many food-service producers have already invested in equipment and facilities to produce and package food in large multi-serving formats for complex prepared-, processed-, frozen-, canned-, and packaged-food value chains. It would be highly inefficient to reconfigure those investments to single service sizes.

    And if anyone had reconfigured or would because they felt this economic shift might be more permanent:

    For food-service producers, the dilemma is around the two- to five-year payback period of new packaging lines. Reinvesting and rebalancing a food-service network for retail is not a straightforward decision. Companies making new investments would be facing a 40 percent or more decline in revenue. And any number of issues could extend the payback period or make investments unrecoverable. Forecasts are uncertain, for example, about the duration of pandemic-related demand shifts, the recovery of the food-service economy, and the timeline of returning to full employment.

    So, for some the accordion of shuttered restaurants squeezed food distributors far more toward the grocery and take-home way of doing their food businesses. And it may have seemed like a great bet, or less disastrous, as “two weeks to slow the spread” morphed to other always-shifting government mandates which appeared to make these non-economics of the pandemic a permanent impress.

    More grocery, less dining. Forever after.

    In one famous example, Heinz Ketchup responded to what some called the Great Ketchup/Catsup? Shortage by rearranging eight, yes, eight production lines to spit out their tomato paste in individual servings rather than bottles. CEO Miguel Patricio told Time Magazine back in June (2021) there hadn’t actually been any shortage of product, just the wrong packaging for it:

    It’s not that we don’t have ketchup. We have ketchup, but in different packages. The strain on demand started when people stopped going to restaurants and they were ordering takeout and home delivery. There would be a lot of packets in the takeout orders. So we have bottles; we don’t have enough pouches. There were pouches being sold on eBay.

    But then…vaccines. Suddenly, after over a year of the above, by April 2021 the doors were flung back open, stir-crazy Americans flew back to their local pubs and establishments (see: below) and within months, according to retail sales, it was almost back to normal again. Meaning pre-COVID.



    The accordion had expanded back out but how much of the food services supply chain had been converted to serve the eat-at-home way which many companies had understandably been led to believe was going to be a lasting transformation?

    Do they undertake even more costly and wasted investments to go back? Maybe they resist, just shipping what they have even if not fully suited in the way it had been before all this began.

    Does Heinz spend the money to reconfigure those same eight production lines so as to revert to producing their ketchup in bottles? Almost certainly, but equally certain they’re going to take their sweet time doing it; milking every last ounce of efficiency – limiting their losses, really – they can out of what may prove to have been a bad decision (again, you can’t really fault Mr. Patricio for being unable to predict pandemic politics).

    Rancher Greg Newhall of Windy N Ranch in Washington likewise told NPR that he has the animals, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat, but distributors are caught in the accordion (Newhall didn’t use that term):

    NEWHALL: People don’t understand how unstable and insecure the supply chain is. That isn’t to say that people are going to starve, but they may be eating alternate meats or peanut butter rather than ground beef.

    GARCIA-NAVARRO: Newhall says he hasn’t had any issues raising his animals. It’s the processing and shipping that’s the bottleneck, as the industry’s biggest players pay top dollar to secure their own supply chains.

    The usual credentialed Economist NPR asked for comment first tried to blame LABOR SHORTAGE!!! issues, including those the mainstream had associated with the pandemic (closed schools forcing parents to stay home, or workers somehow deathly afraid of working in close proximity with others) before then admitting:

    CHRIS BARRETT: And there’s also the readjustment of the manufacturing process. As restaurants are quickly opening back up, the food manufacturers and processors have to retool to begin to supply again the bulk-packaged products that are being used by institutional food service providers.

    With US retail sales continuing at an elevated rate, the pressures on the goods sector are going to remain intense.


    Because, however, this is not inflation – there’s no monetary reasons behind the price gouge – the economy given enough time will adjust. And it has adjusted in some ways, very painful ways.

    Painful in the sense beyond just hyped-up food prices and what we pay for gasoline lately, the services sector has instead born the brunt of this ongoing adjustment. Consumers have bought up goods (in retail sales) at the expense of what they aren’t buying in services (not in retail sales); better pricing for sparsely available goods stuck in supply chains, seeming never-ending recession for service providers.

    According to the BEA’s last figures, overall services spending remains substantially lower than when the recession began last year. And it shows in services prices which had been temporarily boosted by Uncle Sam’s helicopter only to quickly, far more speedily and noticeably fall back in line with the prior, pre-existing disinflationary trend following a much smaller second camel hump.



    Once the supply and other non-economic issues get sorted out, we would expect the same thing in goods, too. It is already shaping up this way, though bottlenecks and inefficiencies are sure to remain impediments and drags well into next year.

    Those include other factors beyond food or domestic logistical nightmares. Port problems, foreign sourcing, etc. The accordion has played the entire global economy, and in one sense it has created the illusion of recovery and inflation out of a situation which in reality is nothing like either.

    That’s the literal downside of transitory. We can see what the price bulge(s) had really been, and therefore what it never was.

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