Telecom & Wireless

The Best Stock to Own for a Market Sell-Off

Verizon logo
Source: courtesy of Verizon
It has a 4.5% yield, a titanium-clad balance sheet and a dominant position in a sector that markets to almost everyone in the United States — successfully. As, or if, the market continues to sell off, it is hard to argue a better defensive stock than Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

With its $130 billion purchase of the 45% of Verizon Wireless that was owned by Vodafone, Verizon joins AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) at the top of the wireless subscriber food chain. The two companies below them, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS), can barely compete. Verizon and AT&T have a de facto monopoly and marketing machines that have an advantage for keeping and capturing customers during the process of introductions like the iPhone 6.

Verizon is in two other business, one of which Wall Street admires and one that it does not. While Verizon’s wireline business — essentially the old home phone — is dying, it is profitable. Its sales were $9.5 billion of the company’s $31 billion in the second quarter. But Verizon made only $259 million on the segment. However, wireline is the Trojan horse to get Verizon’s fiber to the home products into the market. This business effectively competes with the nation’s largest cable and satellite TV enterprises, which have tens of millions of subscribers.

Overall Verizon made $4.3 billion on $31.5 billion in the second quarter. The company had $6 billion in cash and short-term investments and $14.8 billion in cash provided from operations. In other words, its dividend is safe.

By the way, Verizon shares are easy to buy and sell. The stock trades 13 million shares a day.

If the correction continues, people will seek safe haven, and as money flows into these shares, they may well trade higher — another advantage of owning Verizon.

ALSO READ: Why the Market Could Sell Off Another 10%

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