After the Midterm Elections, 10 Defensive Stocks to Buy for 2019

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Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) held up fine during October’s selling, and not even “talc as the new asbestos risk” managed to derail the company. Having consumer products, drugs and other medical products and devices means it is diversified for good times and bad. And the company keeps raising its dividend yield (over 2.5% now) every year and is expected to keep doing so. It saw a 0.7% gain to $143.65 after the midterms, its all-time high is $148.32 and its consensus target price is $146.78. The company also has a mega-cap classification, with its $385 billion market cap.

Update: The shares closed up $2.18 at $144.75, for a gain of more than 1.5%.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) has become as defensive as you can get in food. After all, it’s cheap, it’s been making cleaner food and it’s now arguably healthier than what public schools are serving the kids to eat these days. With a $141 billion market cap, McDonald’s was up 0.2% at $183.16 on Wednesday after the election. The consensus analyst target is $191.81, and the all-time high is $183.50. That 2.6% dividend yield isn’t the worst thing that could happen either.

Update: Shares of McDonald’s closed up $1.54 at $184.25, for a one-day gain of more than 0.8%.

NextEra Energy Inc. (NYSE: NEE) may not be exciting as a top utility, but it’s not supposed to be. With gridlock promised for at least two years, the stock’s gain was almost 1% to $173.15 the morning after the midterms. That’s down less than $4 from its recent highs. The yield is 2.6%, and the market cap is $83 billion, one-third larger than rival Duke Power (although Duke’s yield is now over 4%). While generating electricity through wind, solar, nuclear and natural gas-fired facilities, the company is unlikely to face any pressure from regulators until 2020 or beyond.

Update: NextEra shares closed up $2.08, or more than 1.2%, at $173.54 after the midterms.

PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) was last seen up only about 0.3% around $115.60 after the midterms, but its shares are still down from a 52-week high of $122.51. Being in the sugar-water beverage business is one thing, but it also owns Frito-Lay and snack foods. Do we dare mention that even more marijuana legalization efforts of three states might help that snack food portion of the operations? Pepsi has a 3.3% yield, and the consensus price target is barely $117 now.

Update: PepsiCo shares closed up $0.40, or 0.35%, at $115.61 the day after the midterms.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was last seen trading at $91.85, up handily from its 52-week low of $70.73. The stock ticked down in Wednesday’s post-election results, but it has risen about 30% from its lows, it has a yield better than 3% and analysts have been playing catch-up here. Being the world’s largest consumer products company, with a $227 billion market cap, and selling soap, shampoo, diapers and dozens of other recession-proof items seems to have its privileges.

Update: The shares closed down $0.22 at $91.29 on Wednesday on near-term profit-taking and rotation.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is the world’s top brick-and-mortar retailer that can withstand Amazon’s retail pressure, and it is growing its online and services offerings. A higher pay to employees has helped relieve at least some of the internal pressure the company was facing. And a $304 billion market cap, a 2% yield and share buybacks are likely to keep investors feeling safe too. Its shares were up 0.5% at $103.85 the morning after the midterms, with a 52-week and all-time high of almost $110. The consensus analyst target is $105.30.

Update: Walmart’s stock price rose by $0.98, or 0.96%, to $104.32 on Wednesday.