If you are an adult buying a gift for your father next weekend, he may be old, and perhaps very old. Many people in their 50s and 60s still have fathers. Stocks for Dad? Probably conservative ones, and not too expensive.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is one of the safest investments among U.S. stocks. It has not done much to make people money on price alone over the last year. Verizon trades at $49, near the middle of 52-week high/low range of $55 and $43. However, the stock boasts a yield of of 4.8%. The company’s rock solid balance sheet and cash flow virtually guarantee that dividend, even in an economic downturn. Verizon’s revenue has been relatively flat around $120 billion for the last three years. Last year’s net was $21 billion, about flat from the previous year. Verizon’s biggest risk is margin erosion in the war for wireless subscribers in the U.S.
GM (NYSE: GM), which was a dog for years after it went through Chapter 11 in 2009, now holds the lead in market share in the U.S. and shares the top spot with VW in China–the world’s largest car market. Its only real global competitors are Toyota and VW. The stock trades at $44, the high end of its 52-week range of $47/$34. GM’s largest risk is where it will end up in the race for leadership in self-driving cars and electric vehicles. It will be several years before anyone can handicap this accurately. Its yield is 4%.
Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) 1.7% yield is lower than most on a list of safe haven stocks. Microsoft, however, is one of the few tech stocks to have built a moat around a number of its businesses. Its Azure cloud business, in an industry which is large and growing quickly, is second to Amazon’s, according to many experts. Its Windows franchise still dominates both business and consumer sectors. Its Xbox franchise is about the same size as Sony’s Playstation. There are no other significant players in the field. Microsoft trades at $101, against a 52-year high/low of $103/$68.