5 Ultra-Safe Stocks to Own for a Potentially Volatile Fall


This is another top consumer staples stock that fits the bill. PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) operates as a food and beverage company worldwide. Its Frito-Lay North America segment offers Lay’s and Ruffles potato chips; Doritos, Tostitos and Santitas tortilla chips; and Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks, branded dips and Fritos corn chips.

The Quaker Foods North America segment provides Quaker oatmeal, grits, rice cakes, natural granola and oat squares, as well as Aunt Jemima mixes and syrups, Quaker Chewy granola bars, Cap’n Crunch and Life cereals, and Rice-A-Roni side dishes.

Pepsi’s North America Beverages segment offers beverage concentrates, fountain syrups and finished goods under the Pepsi, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi, Aquafina, Diet Mountain Dew, Tropicana Pure Premium, Sierra Mist and Mug brands, as well as ready-to-drink tea and coffee, and juices.

Shareholders receive a 2.8% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $125 price target, and the consensus target is $124.30. Shares traded Friday near $116.00.


This top telecommunications stock was the worst performing in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for much of this year. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is a global leader in delivering the digital world. Verizon Wireless operates America’s self-described most reliable wireless network, with 109.5 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and it delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide.

The company recently completed the $4.48 billion purchase of Yahoo in an attempt to increase content delivery and internet exposure. The assets acquired from Yahoo will be combined with AOL brands under a new subsidiary called Oath, which ultimately will house more than 50 media and technology brands. The new company will be headed by former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and many on Wall Street are positive on the deal.

Verizon investors receive a 4.82% dividend. Merrill Lynch has set its price target at $50, while the consensus target is $49.59. The stock traded Friday at $47.95 a share.


The giant retailer’s stock has perfromed well since bouncing off lows for the year in January, and it is on the Merrill Lynch US 1 list. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) operates retail stores in various formats worldwide, including discount stores, supermarkets, supercenters, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, cash and carry stores, home improvement stores, specialty electronics stores, restaurants, apparel stores, drug stores and convenience stores. It also operates via retail websites, such as and

Each week, nearly 260 million customers and members visit the company’s 11,535 stores under 72 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2016 revenue of $482.1 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.2 million associates worldwide.

Shareholders are paid a 2.61% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $90. The consensus target is $82.37. The shares were changing hands early Friday at $78.40 apiece.

Despite the constant Wall Street bullishness, the market needs a breather, and a 5% sell-off would provide just that. These five top stocks rated Buy all pay good dividends and offer a degree of safety in what is clearly a very expensive market by historical standards. With fall right around the corner, playing it safe makes sense.

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