5 Merrill Lynch Defensive Portfolio Stocks That Can Survive a Market Crash


This top consumer staples stock fits the bill and is 3.8% of the portfolio. 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.

Investors receive a 3.25% dividend. The $125 Merrill Lynch price target compares with the $117.40 consensus target. Shares closed Friday at $114.28.


This fast-food giant does a ton of business overseas but still remains a solid pick for investors seeking dividends and a degree of safety. McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer, with over 36,000 locations serving approximately 69 million customers in over 100 countries each day. More than 80% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business persons.

Second-quarter diluted earnings per share increased 12% (9% in constant currencies) year over year, reflecting $0.09 per share of strategic restructuring charges. Excluding these charges, diluted earnings per share increased 15% (12% in constant currencies), excluding $0.03 per share of prior year strategic charges.

In the United States, second-quarter comparable sales increased 2.6%, driven by growth in average check, resulting from both product mix shifts and menu price increases. Operating income for the quarter decreased 7%, primarily due to the strategic restructuring charge. Excluding this charge, operating income increased 1%, as higher franchised margin dollars were partly offset by lower company-operated margin dollars.

McDonald’s shareholders receive a 2.57% dividend. Merrill Lynch has set its price target at $190. The consensus target is $184.23, and shares closed Friday at $157.48.


This stock trades at a very reasonable 11.3 times estimated 2019 earnings and also could respond well in a rising rate scenario. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is one of the leading global financial services firms and one of the largest banking institutions in the United States, with about $2.6 trillion in assets. The company as it is today formed through the merger of retail bank Chase Manhattan and investment bank JP Morgan.

The firm has many operating divisions, including investment and corporate banking, asset management, retail financial services, commercial banking, credit cards and financial transaction services. Earnings were outstanding, and the analysts remain very positive on the shares for the balance of 2018.

JPMorgan investors receive a 1.03% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $126. The consensus target is $121.90, and shares closed Friday at $115.03.

Five very safe stocks for investors looking to stay in the market, but may be ready to shift from momentum or crowded companies that look more-and-more dangerous. It also makes sense to move to these defensive plays if your nerves are being rattled by geopolitical issues.

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