10 Defensive Stocks Holding Strong as the Market Sell-Off Gains Momentum

Print Email

When it comes to generalizations in the stock market, there is a saying that rising tides lift all ships and that low tides take everything down. During some sell-offs, that just is not the case. Many investors want to have stock market exposure rather than seeking the lower yields of the Treasury notes.

Many investors fear stock market selling. After all, no one really likes seeing their 401(k), IRA and normal investment accounts trading lower. On last look, the Dow Jones industrial average was down almost 300 points at 24,310 and the S&P 500 was down 23 points at 2,655. Even the Nasdaq was down 60 points at 7,120. And that is on the heels of a big sell-off on Thursday after the president announced 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs.

That being said, there is always a bull market somewhere. Defensive stocks are holding their own during the market panic this week. These stocks are solid companies with steady earnings and long histories of dividend hikes, and they are in areas that do not crater during a recession or hard times. Defensive stocks are generally in telecom, consumer products, beverages, water, medicine and electric utilities.

Here are 10 defensive stocks trading higher during a market sell-off.

Coca-Cola Co. Inc. (NYSE: KO) was last seen up 0.3% at $43.58 a share. The beverage giant has a 52-week trading range of $41.74 to $48.62 and a dividend yield of 3.6%. Its market cap is $186.1 billion.

PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) was up 1% at $109.20. No worries for having beverage and snack foods. Pepsi has a 52-week range of $106.19 to $122.51 and a dividend yield of 2.9%. Its market cap is $155.0 billion.

Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) was last seen up 0.7% at $76.09. The largest electric utility by market capitalization has a 52-week range of $72.93 to $91.80. The dividend yield is 4.7%, and the market cap is $53.3 billion.

American Electric Power Co. Inc. (NYSE: AEP) was up 1% at $66.27. AEP has a 52-week range of $63.32 to $78.07 and a dividend yield of 3.7%. Its market cap is $32.6 billion.

American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) traded up 0.3% at $79.40. Water utilities may have to worry about higher steel costs over the long haul, but water is the ultimate defensive sector. American Water Works has a 52-week range of $74.63 to $92.37 and a dividend yield of 2.1%. Its market cap is $14.2 billion.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was trading up 0.5% at $79.08. Its shares haven’t done well since Nelson Peltz shook things up, but it is the world’s top consumer products maker. And it has raised dividends each year for longer than most of us have been alive. Procter & Gamble has a 52-week range of $77.90 to $94.67, and the dividend yield is 3.5%. Its market cap is $199.3 billion.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) was last seen up 0.6% at $112.16 and it another consumer products giant. The 52-week range is $109.51 to $135.22, the dividend yield is 3.6% and the market cap is $39.3 billion.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was up almost 1% at $36.35 on Friday, with the telecom and cable giant having the top dividend of all large cap stocks. The stock has a 52-week range of $32.55 to $42.70 and a dividend yield of 5.5%. The market cap is $222.9 billion.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was up 0.5% at $48.22. Verizon has a 52-week range of $42.80 to $54.77 and a dividend yield of 4.8%. Its market cap is $196.8 billion.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was trading up 0.2% at $125.55 on Friday. Many drug companies are not trading higher, but this one is in consumer products and medical products. It also keeps growing earnings and raising dividends. Johnson & Johnson has a 52-week range of $120.95 to $148.32. The dividend yield is 2.6%. The market cap is $342.5 billion.