While it may be tough to sell this to somebody who just finished going to the grocery store, inflation is finally falling. After peaking at 9.1% year-over-year growth six months ago, that figure fell to 6.5% in the most recent reading earlier this month. While it is still way above the Federal Reserve target of 2%, most across Wall Street feel that it will continue to decline this year as supply chain issues and other economic stumbling blocks continue to improve, and a period of disinflation could very well set in sooner rather than later.
The team at Jefferies likens the current economic environment to the early 1980s, when a severe inflation bout in the late 1970s and into the early 1980s led to a protracted period of disinflation. They noted this in a recent research report in which they looked for solid stock ideas that could benefit and do well in the conditions that seemed to be a mirror of the past:
US equity markets remain extremely sensitive to consumer-price-index data given its impact on the Federal Reserve rate decisions. The 1980s disinflation cycle brought about by higher rates and easing supply side pressures provide a good template for the current cycle. Broadly, quality growth stocks/sectors did better than value, and small caps underperformed. Past-20-year correlation with inflation confirms the sector/style outcomes of the 1980s. We then screened for inflation sensitivity.
Twenty top stocks hit the analysts’ screens, with 10 being negatively correlated to inflation and 10 falling into the category of quality at a reasonable price (QARP). The analysts feel now is the time to avoid value and growth at a reasonable price (GARP) stocks and focus on quality names with low-risk factors.
We screened the 20 stocks looking for those with the highest dividends. The following seven look like great ideas for worried investors now. While all are rated Buy, it is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.
This maker of tobacco products offers value investors a great entry point now as it has been hit as cigarette sales have slowed. Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) is the parent company of Philip Morris USA (cigarettes), UST (smokeless), John Middleton (cigars), Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Philip Morris Capital. PMUSA enjoys a 51% share of the U.S. cigarette market, led by its top cigarette brand Marlboro.
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