The 10 Best Stocks for a Bear Market

Bear markets are an inevitable if particularly unpleasant part of the market cycle. But investors who hold the best stocks to buy for bear markets can mitigate at least some of the damage.

No, the S&P 500 isn’t in a bear market – a 20% decline from its peak – just yet. It has, however, been flirting with one for some time. The Nasdaq Composite, for its part, fell into a bear market a while ago. 

Either way, 2022 has been a dismal year for equities with no clear end in sight. Bottoms are hard to call in real time anyway, and, besides, stocks can trade sideways for as long as they feel like it. 

And so if this is how things are going to continue, investors might want to arm themselves with the best stocks they can find. And right now, those stock picks should focus on resiliency during deep downturns.

The best bear market stocks tend to be found in defensive sectors, such as consumer staples, utilities, healthcare and even some real estate equities. Furthermore, companies with long histories of dividend growth can offer ballast when seemingly everything is selling off. And, of course, low-volatility stocks with relatively low correlations to the broader market often hold up better in down markets.

To find the best stocks to buy for bear markets, we screened the S&P 500 for stocks with the highest conviction consensus Buy recommendations from Wall Street industry analysts. We further limited ourselves to low-volatility stocks that reside in defensive sectors and offer reliable and rising dividends. Lastly, we eliminated any name that was underperforming the broader market during the current downturn.

That process left us the following 10 picks as our top candidates for the best stocks to buy for a bear market.

Share prices, price targets, analysts’ recommendations and other market data are as of May 17, courtesy of S&P Global Market Intelligence and YCharts, unless otherwise noted. Stocks are listed by conviction of analysts’ Buy calls, from weakest to strongest.

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10. Berkshire Hathaway

A Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK.B) signA Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK.B) sign
  • Market value: $694.1 billion
  • Dividend yield: N/A
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.25 (Buy) 

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B, $314.81) gets a consensus recommendation of Buy with only modest conviction, but then a mere four analysts cover the stock.

One pro rates it at Strong Buy, one says Buy and two have it at Hold, per S&P Global Market Intelligence, which means the latter two analysts believe Buffett’s conglomerate will only match the performance of the broader market over the next 12 months or so.

That’s a reasonable assumption if stocks do indeed avoid falling into bear-market territory. BRK.B, with its relatively low correlation to the S&P 500, tends to lag in up markets. 

By the same token, however, few names generate outperformance as reliably as Berkshire does when stocks are broadly struggling. That’s by design. And Buffett’s wisdom of forgoing some upside in bull markets to outperform in bears has proven to be an incomparably successful strategy when measured over decades. 

Indeed, Berkshire’s compound annual growth (CAGR) since 1965 stands at 20.1%, according to Argus Research. That’s more than twice the S&P 500’s CAGR of 10.5%.

As one would expect, BRK.B is beating the broader market by a wide margin in 2022, too. The stock gained 5.2% for the year-to-date through May 17, vs. a decline of 14.2% for the S&P 500. 

If we do find ourselves mired in a prolonged market slump, BRK.B will probably not go along for the ride. That makes it one of the best bear market stocks to buy.

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9. CVS Health

A standalone CVS Health (ticker: CVS) businessA standalone CVS Health (ticker: CVS) business
  • Market value: $130.3 billion
  • Dividend yield: 2.1%
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.92 (Buy) 

The healthcare sector is a traditional safe haven when markets turn south. Where CVS Health (CVS, $99.60) stands out is that few sector picks possess its unique defensive profile.

CVS is probably best known as a pharmacy chain, but it’s also a pharmacy benefits manager and health insurance company. Analysts praise the company’s multi-faceted business model for both its defensive characteristics and long-term growth prospects.

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“We are bullish on CVS tied to its unique set of assets, robust clinical capabilities and expanding presence in the attractive Medicare business,” writes Truist analyst David MacDonald, who rates the stock at Buy. “We view CVS’ integrated pharmacy/medical benefits as well positioned. Significant scale across its business lines, a strong balance sheet and robust cash flow generation provide dry powder for ongoing capital deployment activities over time.”

MacDonald has plenty of company in the bull camp. Nine analysts rate CVS at Strong Buy, nine call it a Buy and seven have it at Hold. Meanwhile, their average target price of $118.82 gives the stock implied upside of about 27% in the next 12 months or so.

Investors can also take comfort in the stock’s low volatility. Shares have a five-year beta of 0.77. Beta, a volatility metric that serves as a sort of proxy for risk, measures how a stock has traded relative to the S&P 500. Low-beta stocks tend to lag in up markets, but hold up better in down ones.

That’s certainly been the case with CVS stock this year. Shares were off 3.7% for the year-to-date through May 17, but that beat the S&P 500 by nearly 11 percentage points. Such resilience makes the case for CVS as a top bear market stock to buy.

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8. Coca-Cola

Cans of Coca-Cola (ticker: KO) in iceCans of Coca-Cola (ticker: KO) in ice
  • Market value: $285.2 billion
  • Dividend yield: 2.6%
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.88 (Buy) 

Few names in the defensive consumer staples sector can match Coca-Cola (KO, $65.79) when it comes to blue-chip pedigree, history of dividend growth and bullishness on the part of Wall Street analysts.

Coca-Cola’s blue-chip bona fides are confirmed by its membership in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But the company also happens to be an S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrat, boasting a dividend growth streak of 60 years and counting.

Oh, and Coca-Cola also enjoys the imprimatur of no less an investing luminary than Warren Buffett, who has been a shareholder since 1988. At 6.8% of the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio, KO is Buffett’s fourth-largest holding. 

Coca-Cola’s more immediate prospects are bright too, analysts say. It’s an unusually low-beta stock, for one thing, and that has been very helpful during this dismal 2022. Shares in KO have gained more than 11% for the year-to-date through May 17, beating the broader market by more than 25 percentage points.

True, KO was hit hard by pandemic lockdowns, which shuttered restaurants, bars, cinemas and other live venues. But those sales are now bounding back. Analysts likewise praise Coca-Cola’s ability to offset input cost inflation with pricing power. 

“We think KO’s strong fourth-quarter results reflect its brand power and ability to thrive in an inflationary environment, as top line improvement was entirely driven by price and mix,” writes CFRA Research analyst Garrett Nelson (Buy). 

Most of the Street concurs with that assessment. Twelve analysts rate KO at Strong Buy, six say Buy, seven have it at Hold and one calls it a Sell. With a  consensus recommendation of Buy, KO looks to be one of the best bear market stocks to buy.

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7. AbbVie

A picture of an AbbVie (ticker: ABBV) buildingA picture of an AbbVie (ticker: ABBV) building
  • Market value: $273.5 billion
  • Dividend yield: 3.5%
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.88 (Buy) 

Pharmaceutical giant AbbVie’s (ABBV, $155.30) defensive characteristics stem from it being part of the healthcare sector, as well as a low-volatility Dividend Aristocrat. 

But the Street is outright bullish on the name for other reasons as well. 

High on analysts’ list are ABBV’s growth prospects and its pipeline. AbbVie is best known for blockbuster drugs such as Humira and Imbruvica, but the Street is also optimistic about the potential for its cancer-fighting and immunology drugs.

“After the recent weakness in ABBV, we revisited the model, and we came away even more confident regarding the growth prospects and pipeline,” writes Wells Fargo Securities analyst Mohit Bansal, who rates AbbVie as his Top Pick. “We think the consensus forecast significantly underestimates post-2023 growth. There are multiple pipeline catalysts in the 2022 to 2023 timeframe which are not in consensus models.”

At Truist Securities, analyst Robyn Karnauskas (Buy) largely agrees with that view. Although ABBV is suffering with the expected erosion of sales of Humira, newer drugs such as Rinvoq and Skyrizi are rapidly gaining momentum, the analyst says.

The bottom line is that bulls outweigh bears on this name by a comfortable margin. Twelve analysts rate ABBV at Strong Buy, four say Buy, seven call it a Hold and one says Sell.

AbbVie also stands out as a top bear market stock to buy because of a half-century of annual dividend increases. Same goes for ABBV’s low beta. The latter indicates relatively low correlation to the S&P 500, and is evidenced by ABBV stock gaining 14% for the year-to-date through May 17. That beat the broader market by 28 percentage points.

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6. Medtronic

A Medtronic (ticker: MDT) glucose monitorA Medtronic (ticker: MDT) glucose monitor
  • Market value: $142.6 billion
  • Dividend yield: 2.4%
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.85 (Buy) 

Medtronic (MDT, $106.39) is another low-volatility healthcare stock with a long history of dividend growth that analysts say remains poised for even more market-beating returns.

Shares in one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medical devices gained nearly 3% for the year-to-date through May 17, a period in which the S&P 500 shed more than 14%. Even better, with an average price target of $123.18, the Street gives MDT implied upside of 17% in the next 12 months or so.

That’s why analysts’ consensus recommendation stands at Buy, with fairly high conviction. Of the 26 analysts surveyed by S&P Global Market Intelligence covering MDT, 13 rate it at Strong Buy, four say Buy and nine call it a Hold.

Part of MDT’s appeal stems from its reasonable valuation. Shares change hands at 18.8 times analysts’ 2022 earnings per share (EPS) estimate. And yet MDT is forecast to generate average annual EPS growth of nearly 10% over the next three to five years.

“We see this as an attractive valuation,” notes Argus Research analyst David Toung (Buy), adding the company “has solid post-pandemic growth opportunities from both current and soon-to-be-launched products.”

Indeed, the Street singles out MDT’s strong portfolio of existing products, as well as promising new ones under development.

“We believe Medtronic’s deep product pipeline should drive improving revenue growth and enable margin improvement resulting in high single-digit EPS growth and multiple expansion,” writes Needham analyst Mike Matson (Buy).

The best stocks to buy for bear markets often return cash to shareholders, too. And MDT’s history in that regard is as solid as they come. This Dividend Aristocrat has increased its payout annually for 44 years and counting.

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5. General Dynamics

An F-16 Fighting Falcon, made by General Dynamics (ticker: GD)An F-16 Fighting Falcon, made by General Dynamics (ticker: GD)
  • Market value: $64.3 billion
  • Dividend yield: 2.1%
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.81 (Buy) 

Shares in defense contractor General Dynamics (GD, $232.02) benefit in down markets both from their relatively low volatility and dependable dividends. That alone makes GD worth considering as one of the better bear market stocks to buy.

What puts General Dynamics over the top, however, is its robust long-term growth forecast and potential for high share-price appreciation, analysts say.

GD’s defensive characteristics have certainly been well documented so far in 2022. Shares gained 11% for the year-to-date through May 17, a period in which the S&P 500 fell more than 14%. 

And the Street sees more outperformance ahead. Of the 16 analysts issuing opinions on the stock tracked by S&P Global Market Intelligence, nine call it a Strong Buy, two say Buy, four have it at Hold and one calls it a Sell.

Analysts forecast General Dynamics to generate average annual EPS growth of 11.6% over the next three to five years. And, notably, their average target price of $266.07 gives GD implied upside of about 15% in the next 12 months or so.

“Over the long term, GD management is focused on driving growth through modest sales increases, margin improvement, and share buybacks,” writes Argus Research analyst John Eade (Buy). “The company also aggressively returns cash to shareholders through increased dividends (most recently with a hike of 6%).”

If we do find ourselves slogging through a bear market – or just a sideways market – 15% price upside would be outstanding. And as a Dividend Aristocrat with 31 consecutive years of payout increases to its name, shareholders can at the very least count on GD for equity income.

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4. Iron Mountain

An Iron Mountain (ticker: IRM) datacenter against a white backgroundAn Iron Mountain (ticker: IRM) datacenter against a white background
  • Market value: $15.6 billion
  • Dividend yield: 4.6%
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.71 (Buy) 

Iron Mountain (IRM, $53.99) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) with a twist. While the company is growing out a more modern datacenter arm, its legacy business is to store, protect and manage documents. In some cases that means it merely shreds them. The good news is that when corporate customers do indeed store paper documents, they tend to do so for very long periods of time.

That sort of predictability not only helps Iron Mountain maintain a generous dividend, but it allows IRM stock to trade with relatively low volatility. No wonder analysts particularly like Iron Mountain as one of the best bear market stocks to buy. 

“We view IRM as a defensive stock in the current environment, with significant valuation discounts to more traditional REITs (storage and data centers), an improving organic revenue growth story, and the very strong likelihood that the dividend will start to be raised at a 5% to 7% annual pace starting in 2023,” writes Stifel analyst Shlomo Rosenbaum (Buy).

Only seven analysts cover the stock, per S&P Global Market Intelligence, but their consensus recommendation comes to Buy with fairly high conviction. Four pros rate IRM at Strong Buy, two say Buy and one has it at Sell. Meanwhile, their average target price of $61.67 gives IRM implied upside of nearly 20% in the next year or so. 

Such returns would be extraordinary in a bear market, but then, IRM has been holding up its end of the bargain on defense so far. Shares have improved by 2.3% for the year-to-date through May 17 to beat the S&P 500 by about 12 percentage points.

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3. Mondelez International

A stock of Oreo cookies made by Mondelez International (ticker: MDLZ)A stock of Oreo cookies made by Mondelez International (ticker: MDLZ)
  • Market value: $91.0 billion
  • Dividend yield: 2.1%
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.67 (Buy) 

Consumer staples giant Mondelez International (MDLZ, $65.45) is one of the best stocks for a bear market for many of the same reasons that it’s one of the best stocks to stave off sizzling inflation. 

The company’s vast portfolio of snacks and foods include Oreo cookies, Milka chocolates and Philadelphia cream cheese, to name a few. Sales of such consumer favorites tend to hold up well amid rising prices thanks to fickle palates and brand loyalty. 

Where MDLZ stands out among analysts, however, is in its ability to handle higher input costs thanks to a longstanding hedging program. The company also has been successful in passing higher costs on to consumers.

“We hold a strong growth outlook for Mondelez as its sales growth continues to outperform our expectations driven by strong market share performances and strong category growth rates,” writes Stifel analyst Christopher Growe (Buy). 

Nine consecutive years of dividend increases and a stock that trades with much lower volatility than the S&P 500 should also serve investors well in a tough market. Indeed, MDLZ was essentially flat for the year-to-date through May 17, vs. a decline of more than 14% for the broader market. 

Stifel is in the majority on the Street, which gives MDLZ a consensus recommendation of Buy, with high conviction. Twelve analysts rate it at Strong Buy, eight say Buy and four have it a Hold. 

Pricing power, market share gains and low volatility all help make the case for MDLZ as one of the best bear market stocks to buy.

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2. UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (ticker: UNH) signUnitedHealth Group (ticker: UNH) sign
  • Market value: $462.1 billion
  • Dividend yield: 1.2%
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.63 (Buy) 

Blue-chip stocks in defensive sectors such as healthcare tend to hold up better in bear markets, which is why it’s no surprise to see UnitedHealth Group (UNH, $492.93) make the cut.

This Dow Jones stock is the market’s largest health insurer by both market value and revenue – and by wide margins at that. But UNH’s sheer size alone is hardly a reason to hold it through a market downturn.

Shareholders can also take comfort in 13 consecutive years of dividend increases, a stock that’s historically been much less volatile than the broader market, and an outsized profit-growth forecast.

Analysts praise UNH on a number of fronts, with contributions from the Optum pharmacy benefits manager business being a regular highlight. A steep decline in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 is also a welcome relief.

“We maintain our Strong Buy rating on UNH as we believe shares continue to offer an attractive risk-reward tradeoff, and expect management to execute on its mid-teens EPS growth target,” writes Raymond James analyst John Ransom. 

The Street, which gives the stock a consensus recommendation of Buy with high conviction, expects the company to generate annual EPS growth of nearly 14% over the next three to five years. 

Lastly, this low-vol stock is performing as expected in 2022. It is off less than 2% for the year-to-date through May 17. That’s better than the S&P 500 by 12 percentage points.

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1. T-Mobile US

T-Mobile (ticker: TMUS) storeT-Mobile (ticker: TMUS) store
  • Market value: $161.2 billion
  • Dividend yield: N/A
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.55 (Buy) 

Telecommunications stocks have always been favored for dividends and defense, and those are good attributes to have in a bear market. Where T-Mobile US (TMUS, $129.00) stands out is that shares in the wireless carrier have tremendous price upside too, analysts say.

You can chalk TMUS’s bright future up to the company’s $30 billion merger with Sprint. The deal closed two years ago, but the benefits have been escalating ever since. 

That’s because the “trove” of mid-band spectrum Sprint brought to TMUS allowed the telco to rapidly build out its next-generation 5G mobile wireless network, notes Argus Research analyst Joseph Bonner (Buy). The high-speed network, in turn, gave the company a competitive advantage over Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T).

“The success of the company’s service plan innovations has been evident in its robust subscriber acquisition metrics,” Bonner writes. “T-Mobile remains the best positioned of the national carriers to take market share.”

T-Mobile’s clear advantages over peers is key to the Street’s consensus recommendation on the stock, which stands at Buy, with high conviction. It also factors into analysts’ average price target, which, at $167.55, gives TMUS implied upside of 30% in the next year or so.

With a five-year beta of 0.51, TMUS can kind of be thought of as being half as volatile as the S&P 500. That low-vol character has paid off handsomely so far this year. TMUS is up nearly 11% for the year-to-date through May 17, a period in which the broader market has fallen more than 14%. 

If the recent past is prologue, TMUS will prove itself as one of the best bear market stocks to buy.

Source: kiplinger.com

Stock Market Today: Stocks Finish Lower as Traders Mull Recession Odds

The potential for the U.S. to slip into recession was the topic du jour Monday as stocks kicked off the week with a wobbly, uneven session.

Over the weekend, former Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein told CBS’ Face the Nation that recession was “a very, very high risk factor.” That opinion was met by a number of other calls Monday morning.

Wells Fargo Investment Institute, for instance, says “our conviction is that the chances of an outright recession in 2022 remain low” but believes odds are growing that 2023 could see an economic contraction. UBS strategists say the chances are different depending on where you look – their global economists say “hard data” points to a sub-1% chance of recession over the next 12 months, but the yield curve implies 32% odds.

“There’s no crystal ball to predict what’s next, but historical trends can come into play here. With the [S&P 500] closing 15% below its weekly record, there’s only been two times in the past 60-plus years that the market didn’t fall into bear territory after a similar drop,” adds Chris Larkin, Managing Director of Trading at E*Trade. “This doesn’t mean it’s bound to happen, but there is room for potential downside.”

Larkin says to keep an eye on major retail earnings this week – which will kick off in earnest with Walmart’s Tuesday report – to get a pulse check on the American consumer.

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Monday itself was a fairly quiet affair. Exxon Mobil (XOM, +2.4%) and Chevron (CVX, +3.1%) were among a number of plays from the energy sector (+2.7%) that popped after U.S. crude oil futures jumped another 3.4% to $114.20 per barrel.

Twitter (TWTR, -8.2%) shares dropped after Tesla (TSLA, -5.9%) CEO Elon Musk spent the weekend questioning how much of Twitter’s traffic comes from bots. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said the move feels more like a “‘dog ate the homework’ excuse to bail on the Twitter deal or talk down a lower price.” TWTR stock has now given up all its gains since Musk announced his stake in the social platform.

The major indexes finished an up-and-down session with mostly weak results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to eke out a marginal gain to 32,223, but the S&P 500 declined 0.4% to 4,008, while the Nasdaq Composite retreated 1.2% to 11,662.

Also worth noting: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will file its quarterly Form 13F soon. Check back here tonight as we examine what Buffett has been buying and selling. 

stock chart for 051622stock chart for 051622

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 closed out the session with a 0.5% dip to 1,783.
  • Gold futures gained 0.3% to settle at $1,814 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin was off 1.6% to $29,551.92 (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
  • JetBlue Airways (JBLU, -6.1%) ramped up its hostile takeover attempt of Spirit Airlines (SAVE, +13.5%) on Monday, urging SAVE shareholders to vote against a buyout offer from fellow low-cost air carrier Frontier Group Holdings (ULCC, +5.9%). JBLU last month offered to buy Spirit Airlines for $33 per share – a premium to the $21.50 per share ULCC offered in February – but SAVE’s board of directors rejected the bid citing concerns over regulatory approval. JBLU followed up in early May with an “enhanced superior proposal,” including paying a $200 million, or $1.80 per SAVE share, reverse break-up fee should regulators block the deal.
  • Warby Parker (WRBY) fell 5.3% after the eyeglass maker reported a loss of 30 cents per share in its first quarter. This was much wider than the per-share loss of 3 cents the company reported in the year-ago period and missed the consensus estimate for breakeven on a per-share basis. Revenue of $153.2 million also fell short of analysts’ expectations. WRBY did maintain its full-year revenue guidance of $650 million to $660 million. “We remain cautiously optimistic on shares as WRBY continues to show ability to grow the top line, open new stores, and is recession resistant as a lower cost option for non-discretionary spend,” says CFRA Research analyst Zachary Warring (Buy). “We see the company leveraging SG&A to become profitable in the second half of 2022.”

Check Out Europe’s Dividend Royalty

If you’re seeking out more stable opportunities amid an uncertain U.S. market … well, the rest of the world is admittedly looking pretty shaky, too. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few morsels worth a nibble. 

BCA Research notes that while there’s negative news around the globe, “European benchmarks already discount a significant portion of the negative news.” And looking ahead, inflation there is expected to peak over the summer “as the commodity impulse is decelerating” – that should help stagflation fears recede and help European shares.

Graham Secker, Morgan Stanley’s chief European and U.K. equity strategist, chimes in that his firm remains “overweight [European] stocks offering a high and secure dividend yield.”

We’ve previously highlighted our favorite European dividend stocks, which on the whole tend to produce higher yields than their U.S. counterparts.

But we’d also like to shine the spotlight on Europe’s twist on an American income club: the Dividend Aristocrats. The S&P Europe 350 Dividend Aristocrats have somewhat different qualifications than their U.S. brethren, but in general, they’ve proven their ability to provide stable and growing dividends over time.

Read on as we look at the European Dividend Aristocrats.

Source: kiplinger.com

Walmart Q1 Earnings Likely Boosted By Inflation

The latest consumer price index (CPI) released last week indicates inflation remained sky-high in April. And while rising prices were a headwind for most companies in the first three months of 2022, they likely served as a tailwind for mega-retailer Walmart (WMT, $147.48).

Wall Street will find out this week, with WMT an early entrant on the earnings calendar; WMT will report its first-quarter results ahead of the May 17 open. 

The consumer staples stock has shown resilience amid the recent market volatility, up roughly 2% for the year-to-date compared to a more than 17% decline for the broader S&P 500.  

WMT beat on both the top and bottom lines in its fourth quarter thanks in part to its ability to keep prices competitive in a high-inflation environment. And this trend probably continued in Q1, despite a challenging backdrop, says UBS Global Research analyst Michael Lasser (Buy).

“With low prices as its core value proposition, WMT is uniquely positioned to benefit from rising inflation,” the analyst adds. “Its scale helps give it the ability to keep healthy price gaps versus its peers, which can help it achieve further share gains in the grocery channel.  

While Lasser admits there will likely be some “moving pieces” in the report – including unpredictability related to macro headwinds – components such as U.S. same-store sales and full-year guidance will be good.

“We view WMT’s shares as compelling as they offer more certainty than others in this uncertain backdrop,” the analyst says.

Amid tough year-over-year (YoY) comparisons that include last year’s stimulus-related pop, consensus estimates are for Walmart to report a 12.4% drop in earnings to $1.48 per share. Revenue is expected to arrive at $138.8 billion (+0.4% YoY).

Lowe’s Faces Tough Comps in Q1

First-quarter earnings from Lowe’s (LOW, $191.70) are due out before Wednesday’s open. Similar to Walmart, the home improvement retailer is facing hard comparisons from Q1 2021. 

As such, analysts, on average, are calling for a slim 0.9% YoY rise in earnings to $3.24 per share. And revenue is projected to be flat at $23.8 billion.

Still, Lowe’s entered 2022 with momentum following a solid fourth-quarter print, says UBS Global Research analyst Michael Lasser (Buy). 

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Additionally, the consumer discretionary name raised its full-year guidance in February. This reflects an inflation tailwind due to LOW’s “prudent pricing power” that will likely last for at least a few more quarters, the analyst adds. 

“We believe LOW is building a track record of solid execution with every passing quarter,” Lasser says. “Plus, it has several unique drivers to propel its results in the next few years independent of the market growth.”

Kohl’s Top and Bottom Lines Probably Contracted in Q1

Kohl’s (KSS, $47.51) will report its first-quarter earnings ahead of the May 19 open. 

The department store chain ended 2021 with record adjusted earnings of $7.33 per share and year-over-year revenue growth of 21.8% to $19.4 billion.

And Deutsche Bank analyst Gabriella Carbone (Buy) thinks the company is just getting started. “KSS has laid the groundwork for growth along with improving profitability, and is a more nimble company today than it was pre-pandemic,” Carbone says.

Included in the company’s plans to drive growth are goals for Kohl’s to reach $2 billion in sales from its partnership with beauty company Sephora and expand its operating margin to a range of 7% to 8%.

Carbone adds that these goals “may prove to be prudent as management has greatly considered a number of headwinds,” including supply-chain woes and a tight labor market.

As for the retail stock’s first-quarter results, analysts, on average, expect earnings to arrive at 72 cents per share (-31.4% YoY) and revenue to land at $3.7 billion (-0.5% YoY).

In addition to the company’s financial results, Wall Street will be looking for additional updates on the company’s strategic initiatives. Last Wednesday, shareholders voted on Kohl’s new slate of directors, rejecting an attempt from Macellum Advisors to add its nominees to the board. The activist investor has been pushing KSS to make changes, including unloading some of its real estate and putting itself up for sale.

Source: kiplinger.com

What Is the Principal Amount of a Loan?

A personal loan can be a helpful financial tool when someone needs to borrow money to pay for things like home repairs, a wedding, or medical expenses, for example. The principal amount of a loan refers to how much money is borrowed and has to be paid back, aside from interest.

Keep reading for more insight into what the principal of a loan is and how it affects repayment.

Loan Principal Meaning

What is the principal of a loan? When someone takes out a loan, they are borrowing an amount of money, which is called “principal.” The principal on a loan represents the amount of money they borrowed and agreed to pay back. The interest on the loan is what they’ll pay in exchange for borrowing that money.

Does a Personal Loan Have a Principal Amount?

Yes, personal loans do come with a principal amount. Whenever a borrower makes a personal loan payment, the loan’s principal decreases incrementally until it is fully paid off.

Recommended: What Is a Personal Loan?

Loan Principal vs Loan Interest

The loan principal is different from interest. The principal represents the amount of money that was borrowed and must be paid back. The lender will charge interest in exchange for lending the borrower money. Payments made by the borrower are applied to both the principal and interest.

Along with the interest rate, a lender may also disclose the annual percentage rate (APR) charged on the loan, which includes any fees the lender might charge, such as an origination fee, and the interest. As the borrower makes more payments and makes progress paying off their loan principal amount, less of their payments will go towards interest and more will apply to the principal balance. This principal is referred to as amortization.

Recommended: What Is the Average Interest Rate on a Personal Loan?

Loan Principal and Taxes

Personal loans aren’t considered to be a form of income so the amount borrowed is not subject to taxes like investment earnings or wages are. The borrower won’t be required to report a personal loan on their income tax return, no matter who lent the money to them (bank, credit card, peer-to-peer lender, etc.).

Recommended: What Are the Common Uses for Personal Loans?

Loan Principal Repayment Penalties

As tempting as it can be to pay off a loan as quickly as possible to save money on interest payments, some lenders charge borrowers a prepayment penalty if they pay their personal loan off early. Not all charge a prepayment penalty. When shopping for a personal loan, it’s important to inquire about extra fees like this to have a true idea of what borrowing that money may cost.

The borrower’s personal loan agreement will state if they will need to pay a prepayment penalty for paying off their loan early. If a borrower finds that they are subject to a prepayment penalty, it can help to calculate if paying that fee would cost less than continuing to pay interest for the personal loan’s originally planned term.

How Can You Pay Down the Loan Principal Faster?

It’s understandable why some borrowers may want to pay down their loan principal faster than originally planned as it can save the borrower money on interest and lighten their monthly budget. Here are a few ways borrowers can pay down their loan principal faster.

Interest Payments

When a borrower pays down the principal on a loan, they reduce how much interest they need to pay. That means that each month as they make a new payment they reduce their principal and the interest they’ll owe in the future. As previously noted, paying down the principal faster can help the borrower pay less interest. Personal loan lenders allow borrowers to make extra payments or to make a larger monthly payment than planned. When doing this, it’s important that borrowers confirm that their extra payments are going towards the principal balance and not the interest. That way, their extra payments work towards paying down the principal and lowering the amount of interest they owe.

Shorten Loan Term

Refinancing a loan and choosing a shorter loan time can also make it easier to pay down a personal loan faster. Not to mention, if the borrower has a better credit score than when they applied for the original personal loan, they may be able to qualify for a lower interest rate which can make it easier to pay down their debt faster. Having a shorter loan term typically increases the monthly payment amount but can result in paying less interest over the life of the loan and paying off the debt faster.

Cheaper Payments

Refinancing to a new loan with a lower interest rate may reduce monthly loan payments, depending on the term of the new loan. With lower monthly scheduled payments, they may opt to pay extra toward the principal and possibly pay the loan in full before the end of the term.

Other Important Information on the Personal Loan Agreement

A personal loan agreement includes a lot of helpful information about the loan, such as the principal amount and how long the borrower has to pay their debt. The more information the borrower has about the loan, the more strategically they can plan to pay it off. Here’s a closer look at the information typically included in a personal loan agreement.

Loan Amount

An important thing to note on a personal loan agreement is the total amount the borrower is responsible for repaying.

Loan Maturity Date

A personal loan’s maturity date is the day the final loan payment is due.

Loan Interest Rates

The loan’s interest rate and APR should be listed on the personal loan agreement.

Monthly Loan Payments

The monthly loan payment amount will be listed on the personal loan agreement. Knowing how much they need to pay each month can make it easier for the borrower to budget accordingly.

The Takeaway

Understanding how a personal loan works can make it easier to pay one-off. To recap — What is the principal amount of a loan? The principal on a loan is the amount the consumer borrowed and needs to pay back.

Consumers looking for a personal loan may want to consider a SoFi Personal Loan. With competitive interest rates and a wide range of loan amounts available to qualified borrowers, there may be a personal loan option that works for your financial needs.

Learn more about SoFi Personal Loans today

FAQ

What is the principal balance of a loan?

The principal balance of a loan is the amount originally borrowed that the borrower agrees to pay back.

Does the principal of the loan change?

The original loan principal does not change. The principal amount included in each monthly payment will change as the amortization period progresses. On an amortized loan, less principal than interest is paid in each monthly payment at the beginning of the loan and incrementally increases over the life of the loan.

How does loan principal work?

The loan principal represents the amount borrowed. Usually, this is done in monthly payments until the loan principal is fully repaid.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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Source: sofi.com

Swimming Pool Financing: What to Know and Best Pool Loans

Who doesn’t love a relaxing dip in the swimming pool on a sweltering, hot day? And when that swimming pool is in your backyard, it’s even better.

You could bring your friends together over the summer by hosting pool parties. You could teach your kids to swim right at home. If you rent out your place on Airbnb or Vrbo, you could fetch top dollar for the additional amenity.

Sounds like a dream.

If your house didn’t already come with a pool when you moved in, there’s still a possibility of turning your pool fantasies into reality if you have enough space.

And if you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars upfront to spend on a pool construction project, there’s always pool financing.

What Is Pool Financing?

Pool financing is when you borrow money from a financial institution or lender to cover the costs of building a pool. Pool construction typically costs anywhere from $17,971 to $46,481 with the average cost being around $32,059, according to HomeAdvisor.

Of course, the cost will vary based on the size, the type of pool, your location and where you plan to build the pool on your property. Adding a small plunge pool to a cleared, flat space in your backyard will cost considerably less than adding a resort-style pool with waterfalls and a jacuzzi to your property that requires you to cut down multiple trees and level the land.

Besides the personal enjoyment that comes along with having a pool, this addition to your home could boost your property value and make your home more desirable to future buyers, renters or short-term guests.

The high cost to install a pool means that many people rely on pool financing. There are several ways to go about getting a loan for a pool.

Options for Pool Financing

If you want to add a pool to your property, but don’t have the cash upfront, you have several options.

You could get a personal loan (sometimes referred to as a pool loan), a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit or a cash-out refinance. Some pool builders or retailers offer in-house loan programs through their partner lenders. You might also consider using a credit card as your method of financing.

Personal Loans (AKA Pool Loans)

Pool loans are unsecured personal loans offered by banks, credit unions and online lenders. You may be able to get a pool loan through the financial institution where you already have existing accounts, or you might choose to get financed from an online lender or financing consultant company that deals exclusively with pool loans and home improvement loans.

One of the benefits of personal loans is that you don’t have to offer up any collateral. If you stop making payments and default on your loan, you don’t have to worry about your house being foreclosed — though the lender still could sue you. If approved for an unsecured personal loan, you can usually receive funds within a couple of days, much quicker than some other financing options.

Because you don’t have any collateral backing the loan, however, these financing options can come with higher interest rates. Interest rates can start around 3% and go up to about 36%.

A borrower’s credit score, credit history, income and existing debt load all affect the interest rate.

Personal loan terms generally range from about two to 12 years — though some pool loans can have terms up to 20 years or more. You can get loans from $1,000 to over $200,000 to fund simple above-ground pools or elaborate in-ground pool projects.

Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans are essentially when you tap into the equity you have in your home and take out a second mortgage. If you have a significant amount of equity, you could finance your pool project this way.

Home equity loans generally have lower interest rates than personal loans because your home is used as collateral. If you default on your loan, the lender could foreclose on your home.

Also, with home equity loans you’ll face additional fees, like a home appraisal cost and closing costs, so be sure to factor that into your decision making.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit or HELOC also taps into the equity you have in your home, but it’s a revolving line of credit that you can use for several years instead of a loan that provides you with one lump sum of cash.

With a HELOC, you can pull out funds as needed to finance your pool construction and other home improvement projects. While you’ll only pay back what you borrow, the interest on HELOCs are usually adjustable rates rather than fixed rates. That means your monthly payments can increase during your repayment period.

Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinance is essentially when you replace your existing mortgage with a new mortgage that exceeds what you owe on the house and you take out the difference in cash.

You can then use that lump sum to pay for your pool, and you’ll pay it back throughout the course of your new mortgage — over the next 10 to 30 years depending on your loan terms.

A cash-out refinance might make sense if you’re able to get a lower interest rate than your current mortgage. However, just like with a home equity loan or HELOC, your home is being used as collateral, and you’ll face additional fees involved in the refinancing process.

In-House Financing from the Pool Builder

Some pool companies may directly provide you with pool financing offers, so you don’t have to search for financing on your own. The pool companies typically aren’t offering the loan to you themselves, but they’ve partnered with a lender or network of lenders to provide you with financing options.

This type of financing is the same as applying for a personal loan or pool loan. The benefit is that you get a one-stop-shop experience instead of having to reach out to lenders individually. Your pool contractor may even be able to assist you through the loan process.

The downside is that you could potentially miss out on a better deal by only getting quotes from the pool company’s partnered lenders.

Credit Cards

Because of their high interest rates, credit cards are usually not recommended as options for financing a new swimming pool. However, there can be situations where it’d make sense.

If you’re able to open a zero-interest credit card and pay the balance back before the zero-interest period expires, paying with a credit card can be a great option — especially if it’s a rewards card that’ll give you points, airline miles or cash-back for spending or a bonus just for opening the account.

If you choose this financing option, be sure that you’ll be able to pay off the balance in a relatively short period of time. Most credit cards only offer zero-interest periods for the first 12 to 21 months. After that your interest rate could go up to 18% or more.

Pool Loan Comparisons

Getting quotes from multiple lenders will help you select the best deal for your pool construction project. Here’s what a few top lenders are currently offering.

Lyon Financial

Best for Long Loan Terms

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features

  • Pays the pool contractor directly
  • 600 minimum credit score
  • Offers military discounts

Lyon Financial is a financing consultant that has been in business since 1979 and works with a network of lenders to provide loans for pool and home improvement projects. Unlike personal loans that provide the borrower with the funds upfront, Lyon Financial disburses the funding directly to the pool builder in stages as the project progresses.

Lyon Financial

APR (interest rates)

As low as 2.99%

Maximum loan amount

$200,000

Loan terms

Up to 25 years

HFS Financial

Best for Large Pool Loans

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features

  • Provides loans up to $500,000
  • Most loans are funded within 48 hours
  • No prepayment penalties

HFS Financial is a financing company that partners with third-party lenders to provide homeowners with the money to construct pools on their property. Use their “60 second loan application” to kick off the loan process. Funds are typically dispersed within 48 hours.

HFS Financial

APR (interest rates)

As low as 2.99%

Maximum loan amount

$500,000

Loan terms

Up to 20 years

Viking Capital

Best for Customer Service

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features

  • Supports a network of pool builders
  • 650 minimum credit score
  • Offers military discounts

Viking Capital is a family-owned business that has been in operation since 1999. The company acts in the capacity of a financial consultant, and partners with a network of lenders to provide multiple loan offers for pool construction projects.

Viking Capital

APR (interest rates)

As low as 5.49%

Maximum loan amount

$125,000

Loan terms

Up to 20 years

5 Steps to Securing Pool Financing

Follow these steps to secure a loan for your pool.

1. Determine What Monthly Payments You Can Afford

Before you dig into your pool financing options, you should be clear on what monthly payment you can afford. Having a pool is a luxury. You don’t want a pool construction project to jeopardize your ability to pay your bills and meet your needs.

Figure out how much disposable income you have to work with by comparing your monthly earnings to how much you typically spend each month.

Don’t forget to factor in maintenance and additional utilities usage when estimating how much you can afford to go toward pool costs.

2. Check Your Credit History

When you’re financing a pool, having a good or excellent credit score will help you secure a loan with a low interest rate. Ideally, your credit score should be 700 or above.

Some lenders may offer you financing if you have fair or poor credit, however you may have to pay a lot more over time due to higher interest rates.

To boost your credit score before applying for a pool loan, follow these steps.

3. Get Cost Estimates for Your Pool

Talk with pool builders to get estimates on the total cost of your desired pool project. Get estimates from multiple pool companies so you have a better idea of what options exist.

If the estimates come in higher than you expected, consider scaling down the size of your pool project or using different materials.

Make sure any additional work — like constructing safety fencing — is included in your estimate.

4. Choose What Type of Financing Your Prefer and Shop Around For Lenders

After you figure out what options are available within your budget, it’s time to decide on what type of financing you prefer.

Will you be applying for an unsecured loan or do you plan to tap into your home equity or refinance your mortgage? Are you going to purchase a small above-ground pool that you could pay off in 15 months using a zero-interest credit card?

Once you know what type of financing you’ll go with, reach out to multiple lenders so you can compare offers and choose the best deal. You may be able to use a competitor’s lower offer to get a lender to reduce their offer even further.

5. Complete Loan Application and Sign Off on All Paperwork

The final step to get your pool project financed is to complete any additional paperwork and sign off on the dotted line. Expect to provide information about your income and other existing debt.

Your credit score may take a dip after taking on new debt, but it should rebound as you make regular, on-time payments.

Alternatives to Pool Financing

Taking on debt for a new pool doesn’t have to be your only option.

You could put off your pool construction project for a few years and save up for the expense in cash. Open a high-yield savings account to use as a sinking fund and don’t make withdrawals from the account until you’ve reached your savings goal.

If you think you’re outgrowing your current home — or are looking to downsize — wait until you’re ready to move and then look for a new home with an existing pool.

Or if you’re okay with not having a pool in your backyard, you’ll save money by visiting public pools or renting private pools from Swimply on occasion. This is a good option if you think you wouldn’t get much regular use of having your own pool.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many years can you refinance a pool for?

You can finance a pool over 20 to 30 years, depending on the type of financing you secure. If you need decades to pay back the loan, you might consider refinancing your mortgage or taking out a second mortgage. Private, unsecured loans typically need to be repaid sooner, however some have loan terms of 20 years or more.

What is the best way to finance a pool?

It all depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. If you’ve built up a ton of equity in your home and want to spread your debt payments over a lot of time, you might lean toward a home equity loan or HELOC. If you’ve got excellent credit and would qualify for a low-interest personal loan (unsecured loan), that might be the better option.

What credit score do you need for pool financing?

Ideally, you’ll want to have a credit score of 700 or higher to get the best interest rates for pool financing. Some companies, however, will accept lower credit scores. As a result, your loan may have a higher interest rate.

What is a good interest rate for a pool loan?

An interest rate around 5% is a good deal for a pool loan. You may be able to find rates even lower if you have excellent credit.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Should You Consider a Roth Conversion While the Market is Down?

While a down market may not be a fun time for investors, there are some bright spots and opportunities to be had. Stock market drops like we’ve seen recently might make a Roth IRA conversion more appealing as a strategy for investors.

Should you consider converting a traditional IRA to a Roth during a down market? There are a few things to consider before pulling the trigger.

What is a Roth Conversion?

Before you embark on a Roth conversion, you need to fully understand what it is. When you have a traditional IRA, those are pre-tax dollars that you’re investing. While the money grows tax-free, when you later go to take a withdrawal, every dollar you pull will be taxed.

With a Roth IRA you are investing post-tax dollars, and when you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, you pay the full tax during the year that you convert, at ordinary income rates. Then, the dollars that you’ve converted will grow tax-free for the remainder of the time that they sit within the investment. When you later take money out of a Roth, it’s all tax-free, as long as you are 59½ or older and follow a few other rules.

What You Need to Know About a Roth Conversion in a Down Market

When you trigger a Roth conversion, you’ll be responsible for paying the tax due on any pre-tax contributions or earnings within the traditional IRA. The benefit here is that if the market has dropped, it’s likely that your IRA value has dropped along with it – so your full value has gone down, and you’ll be paying taxes on the current value (which is lower, due to the market being down than it was months ago). So, in theory, you can convert a larger portion of your IRA in a down market and pay less in taxes than you could in years when the market is up.

Here’s an example: If you had a traditional IRA with $100,000 at the start of the year, and due to the market, it is now down to $85,000, you could choose to convert that entire IRA to a Roth and only pay tax on the $85,000 instead of the $100,000 that it was months ago. Assuming that these dollars will rebound in the market in the future, you’ve picked a good opportunity to convert.

It’s important to work with both a financial adviser and your tax professional to determine not only the amount of tax you’ll owe during the year that you perform the Roth conversion, but also how long it would potentially take you to break even.

What are the Pros of a Roth Conversion?

Converting from a traditional IRA to a Roth has many potential benefits for investors. Because a Roth IRA allows for dollars to grow tax-free, all the growth is also tax-free. There are also no RMDs, or required minimum distributions, on a Roth IRA once you turn 72. With a traditional IRA or 401(k), you have a set minimum you must withdraw each year once you hit RMD age, but Roth IRAs do not adhere to this rule.

Tax rates are still relatively low, historically, which means now is as good of a time as any for a Roth conversion, from a tax perspective. Tax parity is another benefit of Roth IRAs because you have different “buckets” of income to pull from at retirement in an effort to keep your taxes low during retirement. Roth IRAs also benefit your spouse and heirs at inheritance time, as the tax-free benefits pass along to them in various ways, depending on the time limit and amount, and their relationship with you, the deceased.

A Few Cautions on Conversions

Roth IRA conversions aren’t all benefits though, there are a few things to be aware of. There’s the five-year rule, where you must wait five years after a conversion before making a withdrawal or else you could incur a 10% penalty. Keep in mind that this five-year rule only applies to those who are younger than 59½. After you reach that age, the five-year rule and its penalties no longer apply.

Triggering a Roth conversion may also increase your adjusted gross income (AGI), which could compound other issues, such as Medicare premiums. This may also increase your tax rate.

The best way to determine if a Roth conversion is the right move for you during the down market is to work with a financial adviser and a tax professional so you can get feedback on your specific financial situation.

Diversified, LLC does not provide tax advice and should not be relied upon for purposes of filing taxes, estimating tax liabilities or avoiding any tax or penalty imposed by law. The information provided by Diversified, LLC should not be a substitute for consulting a qualified tax adviser, accountant, or other professional concerning the application of tax law or an individual tax situation.
Nothing provided on this site constitutes tax advice. Individuals should seek the advice of their own tax adviser for specific information regarding tax consequences of investments. Investments in securities entail risk and are not suitable for all investors. This site is not a recommendation nor an offer to sell (or solicitation of an offer to buy) securities in the United States or in any other jurisdiction.

President, Partner and Financial Adviser, Diversified, LLC

In March 2010, Andrew Rosen joined Diversified, bringing with him nine years of financial industry experience.  As a financial planner, Andrew forges lifelong relationships with clients, coaching them through all stages of life. He has obtained his Series 6, 7 and 63, along with property/casualty and health/life insurance licenses. 

Source: kiplinger.com

Stock Market Today: Stocks Paper Over Lousy Week With Wild Friday

Wall Street spent most of Friday applying some vibrant lipstick to what was otherwise a pig of a week for investors.

A broad market rally – one that saw each of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors finish higher – wasn’t a response to any new positive catalysts. Quarterly reports were light today, with most investors flipping the earnings calendar to next week’s retail-heavy slate.

And Friday’s most noteworthy datapoint was the University of Michigan’s latest consumer sentiment index reading, which dropped from 65.2 in April to 59.1 in May – a 10-year nadir that was well lower than the 64.1 reading expected.

Sometimes the market just enjoys a relief rally.

“Following a week of heavy selling, but with inflationary pressures easing just at the margin, and the Fed still seemingly wedded to 50-basis-point hikes for each of the next two FOMC meetings, the market was poised for the kind of strong rally endemic to bear market rallies,” says Quincy Krosby, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial.

He adds that given the Federal Reserve is only at the beginning of its rate-hike cycle and would like to see demand pull back further, “this rally will most likely weaken.”

Of course, even if this is just a pause before more market declines, investors don’t necessarily have to time the bottom to buy in at a decent valuation.

“This is still an attractive entry point, as we do not believe this is 1999/2000,” says Nancy Tengler, CEO and CIO of asset management firm Laffer Tengler Investments.

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The buying was strongest in consumer discretionary stocks (+3.9%) such as Amazon.com (AMZN, +5.7%) and Tesla (TSLA, +5.7%), along with technology plays (+3.3%) including Nvidia (NVDA, +9.5%) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, +9.3%).

Energy (+3.4%) was also bid higher amid a big pop in oil; U.S. crude futures finished 4.1% higher to $110.49 per barrel, helping to spark new highs in gasoline futures prices.

Notably absent from the rally was Twitter (TWTR, -9.7%), which sank after Elon Musk tweeted that the deal was “temporarily on hold.” 

All the major indexes put up spectacular gains Friday, though for the week, it was still losses all around: The Nasdaq Composite (+3.8% to 11,805) still finished off 2.8% for the week, the S&P 500 (+2.4% to 4,023) was down 2.4% across the five days, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.5% to 32,196) closed the week 2.1% in the red.

stock chart for 051322stock chart for 051322

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 bounced 3.1% to 1,792.
  • Gold futures had no such luck. The yellow metal was off 0.9% to a 14-week low of $1,808.20 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin snapped back 5.1% to $30,034.99. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)

Keep Your Guard Up Against Inflation

Inflation is prevalent virtually everywhere – including on corporate America’s earnings calls.

We’re most of the way through the first-quarter earnings season, and over the past few months, publicly traded companies keep repeating the “I” word as they discussed their most recent financial results.

FactSet used its Document Search technology to track mentions of the term “inflation” on corporate earnings calls, According to their senior earnings analyst, John Butters, of the 455 S&P 500 companies that have conducted earnings conference calls from March 15 through May 12, “377 have cited the term ‘inflation’ … which is well above the five-year average of 155.”

In fact, this is the highest overall number of S&P 500 companies citing inflation on their calls going back to at least 210. (The previous record? 356 … in the final quarter of 2021.)

It’s another signal that inflation continues to be a persistent problem – and with forecasts calling for still-high inflation to come, more active investors might do well to pack a little more protection. We’ve previously analyzed other ways to stay in front of inflation, such as stocks with pricing power and inflation-fighting funds.

Today, we look at another batch of investments that can help harness high inflation, with a focus on commodities, real estate and other areas of the market.

Kyle Woodley was long AMD, AMZN and NVDA as of this writing.

Source: kiplinger.com

Stock Market Today: Stocks Stumble as Inflation Remains Red-Hot

It was a choppy day for stocks as investors unpacked the latest consumer price index (CPI). Data released by the Labor Department this morning showed that prices consumers paid for goods and services in April rose at an annual rate of 8.3% – down from March’s 8.5% pace to mark the first drop in inflation in eight months. While encouraging at first glimpse, there were concerning signs deeper inside the report.

For instance, the decline in CPI last month reflected a drop in gas prices, which have since rebounded. Food prices remained elevated, while airfare and restaurant bills increased ahead of the key summer travel season. And core CPI, which excludes the volatile energy and food categories, rose 0.6% on a sequential basis – double what it was in March.

“While this report appears to mark the first that shows some moderation from the ever-rising pace of inflation since September of last year, one data point does not necessarily make a trend; and the rise in core CPI should lead to some consideration that the moderation in inflation will not be quick,” says Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at wealth management firm Glenmede. 

With prices already high, Pride said, it should be harder for the CPI to continue to rise at the same pace, especially with the Federal Reserve also hiking interest rates to combat higher prices. “However, it will likely take multiple reports for such a trend [of moderating inflation] to clearly establish itself,” he says.

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This sentiment is echoed by Mike Loewengart, managing director of Investment Strategy at E*Trade. “Today’s read is a stark reminder that the journey to pre-pandemic levels of inflation will be a long one,” Loewengart says. “Although inflation slowed from March, the market’s reaction suggests that record high prices continue to weigh heavy on investors psyches. And with inflation persistently hot, the Fed has more fodder for increased rate hikes, which the market doesn’t often welcome with open arms.”

After bouncing between gains and losses in early trading, markets took a decisive turn lower this afternoon. At the close, the Nasdaq Composite was down 3.2% at 11,364, the S&P 500 Index was off 1.7% at 3,935 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.0% lower at 31,834. 

stock price chart 051122stock price chart 051122

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 retreated 2.5% to 1,718.
  • U.S. crude futures surged 6% to end at $105.71 per barrel.
  • Gold futures gained 0.7% to settle at $1,853.70 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin slid below the $30,000 for the first time since July 2021, down 5.9% at $29,477.50. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
  • Roblox (RBLX) was down as much as 10% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the video game developer reported a first-quarter loss of 27 cents per share, wider than the 21 cents per share Wall Street was expecting. The company’s revenue of $631.2 million also fell short of the consensus estimate, as did bookings of 54.1 million. Still, the metaverse stock managed to finish today up 3.4% after Chief Financial Officer Michael Guthrie said on the company’s earnings call that year-over-year growth may have bottomed in March, sooner than anticipated. 
  • Coinbase Global (COIN) shares plunged 26.4% on Wednesday after delivering a pretty disappointing quarterly report. Q1 revenues were off 27% year-over-year to $1.17 billion, widely missing analysts’ expectations for $1.50 billion. Meanwhile, the company swung to a $430 million loss after earning $388 million in the year-ago period. Monthly users were down 19% YoY, too. Also raising eyebrows in the cryptocurrency community was an update to the Risk Factors section in its Form 10-Q, warning that users could potentially lose access to their assets in the event Coinbase ever had to go through bankruptcy proceedings.

Inflation Remains a Top Concern for Investors

Inflation remains top of mind for investors. This is according to the latest Charles Schwab Trader Sentiment Survey, which reviews the outlooks, expectations and trading patterns of 845 Charles Schwab and TDAmeritrade clients. Inflation was the main concern for those surveyed in the report (20% of respondents), followed by geopolitics (15%) and recession/domestic politics (12% apiece). And nearly half of participants (45%) do not believe inflation will begin to ease until 2023. 

“Overall, in the second quarter, market sentiment among traders is unquestionably skewing bearish,” says Barry Metzger, head of trading and education at Schwab. But market participants do see investing opportunities, the report notes.

Among the sectors survey respondents are most bullish on at the moment are energy (70%) and utilities (54%). The industries they are most upbeat toward include cybersecurity (71%) and agriculture (70%). 

And 70% of those surveyed are interested in seeking out opportunities in defense stocks. While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has unsettled many parts of the stock market, it has also sparked an increase in global military spending, which could create a potential boon for the industry. Here, we’ve compiled a quick list of defense stocks that are poised to benefit from this spending build. The names featured include familiar names as well as some under-the-radar picks – and they all sport top ratings from Wall Street’s pros.

Source: kiplinger.com

5 Stocks to Sell or Avoid Now

It’s been a horrific year so far for equities, and yet the market remains littered with stocks to sell in anticipation of even deeper losses.

True, one of the worst starts to a year in market history has surely created a smorgasbord of bargains. But it hardly follows that every stock is worth buying on the dip. 

Although being greedy when others are fearful is a generally fine first principle, remember that some stocks go down for good reasons. Such stocks to sell have plenty of room to decline even further.

Given that negative ratings on equities are exceedingly rare on Wall Street, it seemed like a good time to see which names analysts collectively single out as stocks to sell now. To that end, we used data from YCharts and S&P Global Market Intelligence to screen the Russell 1000 index for the stocks with the highest-conviction consensus Sell recommendations by industry analysts.

Here’s how the ratings system works: S&P surveys analysts’ stock calls and scores them on a five-point scale, where 1.0 equals a Strong Buy and 5.0 is a Strong Sell. Any score equal to or below 3.5 means that analysts, on average, rate the stock at Sell. The closer a score gets to 5.0, the stronger the consensus Sell recommendation.

After running the screen we were left with a very short list of names. (As we said above, Sell calls are rare.) And although they come from sectors as diverse as retail, insurance and utilities, they all have one thing in common: The Street expects them to underperform the broader market handily over the next 12 months or so.

Read on for more information about Wall Street’s top five stocks to sell now.

Share prices, price targets, analysts’ recommendations and other market data are as of March 9, courtesy of S&P Global Market Intelligence and YCharts, unless otherwise noted. Stocks are listed by conviction of analysts’ Sell calls, from weakest to strongest. 

1 of 5

Hawaiian Electric Industries

offshore electricity wind generatorsoffshore electricity wind generators
  • Market value: $4.6 billion
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 3.6 (Sell) 

Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE, $41.99) stock is holding up pretty well so far in 2022. It’s essentially flat for the year-to-date vs. a drop of 16% for the S&P 500. 

The Street, however, says that outperformance is set to come to an end in a big way.

The five analysts covering this utility stock collectively view it a hair on the negative side. The average price target of $41.60 implies that the stock is a little overvalued, and ratings lean to the sell side, at three Holds, one Sell and one Strong Sell, per S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The pros who have Hawaiian Electric among their stocks to sell believe the company is set for a fall. UBS Global Research analyst Daniel Ford rates the stock at Sell, and his price target of $36 gives HE stock implied downside of about 15% in the next 12 months or so.

That’s due in part to the company’s unique total exposure to its state. Hawaiian Electric Industries comprises three operating subsidiaries: Hawaiian Electric, an electric utility serving 95% of Hawaii; American Savings Bank, one of Hawaii’s largest financial institutions; and Pacific Current, an independent subsidiary that aims to advance Hawaii’s sustainability goals.

As such, HE was sort of a COVID-19 recovery play, but now much (if not all) of the upside has been baked in. The valuation would certainly appear to support that view. 

Indeed, shares trade at just under 20 times the Street’s 2022 earnings per share (EPS) estimate. Meanwhile, analysts forecast the company to generate modest average annual EPS growth of less than 8% over the next three to five years.

2 of 5

Southern Copper

Copper miningCopper mining
  • Market value: $45.1 billion
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 3.75 (Sell) 

Southern Copper (SCCO, $58.38) stock is off more than 5% for the year-to-date. Although that’s beating the broader market by a wide margin, the Street says its days of outperformance are coming to an end 

Shares in the copper miner, smelter and refiner get a consensus recommendation of Sell, with fairly strong conviction. Of the 16 analysts covering SCCO tracked by S&P Global Market Intelligence, eight rate it at Hold, four say Sell and four call it a Strong Sell.

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The bearishness stems primarily from political and social upheaval in Peru, where the company maintains a key presence. SCCO saw copper production tumble 10% in the most recent quarter after community protests forced it to halt work at its Cuajone mine. 

The mine has since returned to full capacity, but tensions remain high. Indeed, BofA Securities joined the pros listing Southern Copper among their stocks to sell earlier this year, downgrading shares to Underperform because of the potential for further unrest in Peru.

At the same time, SCCO is also struggling with lower ore grades and recoveries at other mines, notes CFRA Research analyst Matthew Miller, who rates shares at Hold. Those headwinds forced the company to cut its full-year production guidance by 3%, the analyst adds. 

The Street also worries about Southern Copper’s heavy dependence on the Cuajone mine, as it accounts for 40% of the company’s production in Peru.

3 of 5

Xerox

A person using a copying machineA person using a copying machine
  • Market value: $2.7 billion
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 4.00 (Sell) 

Xerox (XRX, $17.24) stock has lost nearly a quarter of its value so far this year, but you won’t find any analysts imploring clients to buy the dip on this long-time market laggard. 

Indeed, shares in the digital printing company have carried a consensus recommendation of Sell for more than a year, and it’s not hard to see why. XRX underperformed the broader market by pretty much epic margins in five of the past seven years.

Apparently there’s little reason to see it snapping that streak anytime soon.

“Prior to the pandemic, Xerox had faced pressure from the rise of the paperless workplace and the corresponding decline in imaging equipment revenue,” writes Argus Research analyst Kristina Ruggeri (Hold). “The increase in work-from-home practices during the pandemic further accelerated this trend.”

At the same time, supply-chain disruptions are impeding the company’s efforts to manufacture higher-margin products, and inflation is taking a heavy toll on input costs.

“We expect these headwinds to weigh on sales and earnings well into 2022 and believe that it will take time for the company’s transformation efforts to gain traction,” Ruggeri says.

The majority of the seven analysts with opinions on XRX have it among their stocks to sell. Specifically, three call Xerox a Hold, one says Sell and three have it at Strong Sell.

4 of 5

Mercury General

Mercury General stock sell auto insurance Mercury General stock sell auto insurance
  • Market value: $2.8 billion
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 4.00 (Sell) 

Only one analyst covers shares in property and casualty insurer Mercury General (MCY, $49.80), which should give would-be investors pause in and of itself.

That the sole analyst tracking MCY slaps a rare Sell call on it makes this name only that much more unattractive.

Raymond James analyst C. Gregory Peters rates MCY at Underperform (the equivalent of Sell), citing a number of factors. For one thing, the insurance underwriter continues to be hurt by the supply-chain problems and inflationary pressures endemic to the auto and property markets.

In addition to the fact that consumers don’t need to buy insurance for cars they can’t find or afford, MCY is struggling with the California Department of Insurance’s rates policies.

“The CA Department of Insurance is notoriously anti-insurance industry and political, which we believe could make rate approvals even more problematic considering it is an election year,” Peters writes. “In a worst-case scenario, the CA DOI could delay rate increases by up to two years.”

MCY stock is beating the broader market year-to-date, but it’s still off about 6%. Raymond James’ Peters doesn’t have a price target for the stock, saying it’s not material at this point.

“Our Underperform rating is primarily a reflection of the longer-term structural challenges associated with California,” he says.

5 of 5

GameStop

A storefront of video game retailer GameStop (GME)A storefront of video game retailer GameStop (GME)
  • Market value: $7.5 billion
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 4.33 (Sell) 

The godfather of meme stocks is set for a massive fall, at least as far as Wall Street pros are concerned. And that’s after falling by more than a third for the year-to-date already.

Analysts’ average target price of $26.50 gives shares in GameStop (GME, $98.79) implied downside of 73% in the next 12 months or so. Their consensus recommendation, needless to say, stands at Sell.

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To be fair, we’re talking about a miniscule sample size of recommendations here. Only three analysts bother issuing opinions on GME anymore. Of those who remain, one rates the stock at Hold and two call it a Strong Sell, per S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Once upon a time – before shares in the brick-and-mortar video game retailer became a plaything for social media day traders – as many as 10 analysts covered GME. But once the stock’s price action became divorced from reality – it gained 1,740% over the course of a few weeks at one point in early 2021 – fundamental research became pointless. 

That schism remains a real problem for analysts who refuse to drop coverage of the name.

“The share price continues to trade at levels that are completely disconnected from the fundamentals of the business due to ongoing support from certain retail investors,” writes Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. “As a result, we continue to believe that an Underperform rating [the equivalent of Sell] is warranted.”

Source: kiplinger.com

How Taxes Impact Your Wealth Gap

Imagine you’re standing on the bank of a river. The bank you’re standing on represents your current financial status, and the opposite bank is the amount of wealth you need for retirement. The river itself is the difference between how much wealth you currently have and what must be accumulated to reach your retirement goals.

When we look at bridging this wealth gap, it’s important to factor in anything that could get in the way of reaching our goals. That’s why taxes are so important. You can’t have an accurate calculation without understanding how taxes impact your wealth gap. You see, taxation plays a significant role in our ability to accumulate wealth. If you went through your whole life without utilizing any of the tax breaks available to you, you would have built substantially less wealth than someone who understood the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and took advantage of its many tax-saving benefits.

In fact, one of my colleagues often calls the Internal Revenue Code “the greatest wealth creation tool in the United States.” He’s not wrong. The IRC is a tool for wealth creation. As such, it can be the difference in whether taxes impact your wealth gap in a negative way. You see, much of the IRC is pages and pages of information on how you can legally minimize taxes. 

Let me be absolutely clear, I am not offering tax advice. Nor am I advocating for illegal or unethical means of avoiding the payment of taxes. You should always consult a professional before employing any of the strategies found within the IRC to ensure that you are compliant with the law.

By the Numbers

The top marginal income tax rate of 37% affects taxpayers with a taxable income of $539,900 or more for single filers. Likewise, it impacts married couples filing jointly, with a taxable income of $647,850 and above. But what does that mean for you? Will taxes increase? Will tax brackets expand, or decrease? The only way to truly opine the answers to these questions is to look back at historical tax brackets. 

In 1984, the lowest bracket was up to $3,400 for married couples. The highest tax bracket began at $162,400 (the 1984 values are the base upon which inflation indexing began). However, the brackets began to spread in the 1990s. In fact, the highest bracket floor in 1994 rose to $250,000 while the lowest bracket ceiling remained around $38,000. So, there began to be a “spread” between the tax rates of high-income earners and those with less income. That spread has become an albatross in the modern era.

Historical Tax Data

To better put into context how taxes impact your wealth gap, let’s look at some of these numbers through a tax rate calculator. Using this calculator, if you were making $50,000 (in today’s dollars) in 1913 you would have paid around 1% in taxes. However, that same $50,000 earnings in 1942 would have landed you in a 20% tax bracket. So, what happened? Well, that would have been about the time that the government needed to fund the war effort for WWII. Since that time, there hasn’t really been a whole lot of movement. If you’re a single filer earning $50K today, you’re going to be taxed at about 22%.

However, most of the clients I work with earn much more taxable income than $50K. So, let’s go with a more realistic figure. We will enter $500K into the calculator. Keep in mind, the effective tax rate made a considerable change between 1937 and 1942. In 1944, a person earning $500K (in today’s dollars) would be taxed at the bracket rate of 51%. That number rose to as high as 58.9% in the early 1980s.

What History Tells Us

Famed historian and co-documentarian of the PBS series Prohibition, Lynn Novick attributes the creation of the federal income tax to Prohibition in the United States. Novick states, “I had no idea how important liquor was to the federal government. It started in the Civil War with the levy on beer and whiskey to help fund the war, and it never really went away. Some 30% to 40% of the government’s income came from the tax on alcohol. So, Prohibitionists realized that the only way they’re going to have a ban was through income tax, which was a progressive cause and was really supposed to distribute wealth and to make things equitable during the robber baron era, where the wealth was being accumulated in a very small segment of the population.”

In 1913, the top tax bracket was 7% on any income over $500,000 ($11 million in today’s dollars). The lowest tax bracket was 1%. But so much has happened since then. We’ve experienced WWI, WWII, the Great Depression and so much more. Each of these events has played a major role in how we are taxed. For instance, the New Deal carried an inflation-adjusted price tag of $856.1 billion in 1933. Then from 1943 to 1982, the average tax bracket for the taxpayer earning $500,000 jumped from 14% to an average of 50% +/-.

Similarly, the Great Recession saw an economic stimulus that totaled $1.8 trillion. As a result, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 maintained the 35% tax rate through 2012. And recently, we saw the largest stimulus package in our nation’s history, with the CARES Act, which checked in at a staggering $3.6 trillion. As we have seen in the past, we could reasonably anticipate another increase in federal income taxes because of this.

Putting It All Together: How Taxes Impact Your Wealth Gap

According to the old adage, there are two certainties in this life: death and taxes. With that in mind, I wanted to get you thinking about how taxes will likely impact your wealth gap. I want you to be confident in your personal plans and direction. You know what you want out of retirement and how long you have to build the wealth that will fund it. Don’t let something like taxes throw off your calculation. 

To ensure that you’re not overpaying on taxes, you should have a CPA helping with your annual tax filings. But that’s not all. You should also be meeting with your CPA and CFP® about proactive strategies to mitigate your tax burden. The less you pay in taxes, the more you can save for retirement. Both will help you to close your retirement wealth gap sooner than later.

Chief Strategy Officer, WealthSource Partners

Justin A. Goodbread is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and an adviser with WealthSource® Knoxville. After years of working in a large firm, he ventured out on his own in 2009, starting Heritage Investors, and eventually joining WealthSource® Partners LLC in 2022. As a serial small-business owner, Goodbread has bought and sold multiple businesses. He uses this experience, along with his continuing education, to help business owners grow and sell what is often their largest asset. 

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® certification mark, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification mark, and the CFP® certification mark (with plaque design) logo in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Source: kiplinger.com