The boom in the technology industry came to an end in 2022. Pandemic-driven demand started to reverse. Now tech companies are cutting back expenses and laying off employees. With growth names on the decline, investors have turned to other sectors that are known for being more stable and recession-proof, such as consumer staples stocks.
Consumer staples stocks tend to fare well in bear markets. After all, the makers of food, beverages, personal products, and so on tend to hold up regardless of economic conditions. Indeed, many of these defensive stocks greatly outperformed the market in 2022.
This might make investors think that the moment for defensive holdings has passed. But that would be a mistake.
In fact, there are still solid values to be had in the consumer staple stocks space. All three of these consumer staples companies have seen their shares decline by 15% or more over the past year, which sets them up for a solid turnaround as things improve in 2023.
|CLX||The Clorox Company||$141.88|
Spices, seasonings, and hot sauces maker McCormick (NYSE:MKC) have given long-term investors plenty to cheer about. Shares are up more than 1,200% over the past 30 years.
However, the company’s hot streak has worn off; shares have been roughly flat since 2019. Additionally, the stock was off by double-digits in 2022. This pause in the company’s gains could present a solid buying opportunity.
In recent years, McCormick has enjoyed tremendous growth due to key acquisitions such as Frank’s hot sauce and Cholula hot sauce. Americans are enamored of spicy flavors, and hot sauces are one of the leading categories within the grocery store. McCormick is leaning heavily into that opportunity.
More broadly, McCormick’s core spices and seasoning business is absolutely dominant. The company has a massive market share, ensuring that it maintains outsized profit margins. The company’s institutional business, delivering flavorings for leading restaurants and fast food chains, is another vehicle for growth. Americans want exciting and unique food flavors, and McCormick is there to deliver.
Tyson Foods (TSN)
Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) had a difficult 2022. The leading meat processing firm was not able to benefit from the rising inflationary environment. This comes because Tyson primarily sells commodity meat products rather than having solid brands, which would allow it to mark up prices considerably.
While Tyson’s weaker branded position is a drawback, shares more than reflects that. Tyson stock is down more than 25% over the past year, and shares now sell for just 10 times forward earnings.
Some of the declines are likely due to a messy and unfortunate personal behavior scandal committed by Tyson’s chief financial officer. However, while that was a black eye for the company, it shouldn’t have a meaningful impact on the firm’s long-term profitability.
With commodity prices starting to normalize, Tyson should see its operations stabilize in 2023. Meanwhile, at such a low starting valuation, shares should have considerable upside once earnings per share start to rise.
The Clorox Company (CLX)
The Clorox Company (NYSE:CLX) is the perfect example of how the pandemic created a massive boom and bust within certain industries. Clorox saw a sharp jump in sales in 2020 as people stocked their pantries with cleaning supplies. Corporate customers also ordered more goods to keep their public surfaces as hygienic as possible.
However, while Clorox enjoyed record revenues in 2020, things quickly turned downward. While sales have returned to more normal levels, earnings actually fell well below pre-pandemic levels. This came about due to the inflationary spiral, which has driven up the price of chemicals, labor, packaging materials, and so on.
But this, too, shall pass. Analysts expect Clorox to earn just $4.11 per share in 2023. However, it typically earned approximately $6.50 per share in annual earnings before the pandemic. As current headwinds abate, earnings should return to more normal levels and drive a strong upturn in the price of CLX stock. Thus, Clorox is among the top consumer staples stocks to buy this year.
On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in MKC stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Agriculture, Commodities, Consumer Staples, Food, Consumer Discretionary, Retail