6. Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK), $90.50
> Industry: Utilities
> Yield: 4.15%
> 52-week range: $71.96 – $91.66
> Market cap: $66 billion
Duke Energy is one of America’s largest electric utilities by coverage and by market cap. It also provides gas and infrastructure services to consumers and organizations alike. It had roughly 7.6 million electricity customers in six states at last count. The company’s annual revenue is nearing $25 billion.
7. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), $137.00
> Industry: Health and consumer products
> Yield: 2.6%
> 52-week range: $118.62 – $148.99
> Market cap: $360 billion
Household name Johnson & Johnson produces and markets not only consumer products, but also drugs and other medical products and devices, meaning it is diversified enough to withstand good times and bad. A recent wave of bad news relating to asbestos in talcum powder has kept a cloud over J&J, but the company has a long history of overcoming and surviving any hiccup that come its way. Revenues are expected to rise be close to 2% to almost $83 billion in 2019.
8. Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB), $122.00
> Industry: Consumer products
> Yield: 3.4%
> 52-week range: $97.10 – $123.50
> Market cap: $42 billion
Kimberly-Clark is one of the world’s best-known consumer brands companies, with products in personal care, tissues, soaps, paper towels, and so on, many of which familiar household names. Revenues have been flat, but shares performed well during much of the stock market malaise in late 2018 and again into 2019.
9. McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD), $187.50
> Industry: Fast food
> Yield: 2.6%
> 52-week range: $146.84 – $190.88
> Market cap: $144 billion
The home of the Golden Arches has made major changes to its menu and food quality, and it has become as defensive as you can get for a fast food company. McDonald’s has made efforts to sell higher quality food to attract younger people, and it is still more than affordable as a place to feed a whole family.
10. Merck & Co Inc. (NYSE: MRK) $82.00
> Industry: Pharmaceutical
> Yield: 2.8%
> 52-week range: $52.83 – $83.45
> Market cap: $210 billion
The Big Pharma giant was the Dow’s top stock in 2018, with a gain of more than 35% on the year. While many pressures exist regarding drug prices and patent expirations, Merck’s reputation has been boosted by a strong pipeline of drugs, including the cancer treatment Keytruda. While the risks mentioned might put pressure on the stock, Merck more than proved it was a top defensive stock throughout 2018. Merck has continued to deliver upside in 2019.
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