We don’t know how much relief most Americans are feeling from the effects of inflation, particularly at the grocery store. But we live in a data-driven world, and the data says that inflation is retreating on a year-over-year basis.
Still, inflation is growing above the Federal Reserve’s preferred target rate of 2%. And the core rate of inflation is much higher than that.
Not to be a downer, but many economists – and a little bit of common sense – suggest that inflation is likely to go back up. And, like your golf score, this is a time when higher is not better.
That means now is a good time to check in with your portfolio. Did you rotate too much into risk-on-growth stocks? Do you have enough dividend stocks? If you’re looking to mitigate some of your risks, there are still some excellent opportunities.
These dividend payers not only have a reputation of increasing their dividends on an annual basis but they are also expected to have earnings growth in 2023 and 2024. That means you’ll get some capital gains to go along with those regular dividend payments.
This Company is Helping America Rebuild its Infrastructure
Fastenal Company (NASDAQ: FAST) is a wholesale distributor of many of the products needed by industrial and construction companies. The products aren’t exciting, but they’re essential. And as you can see in the company’s balance sheet, it holds its own in good economic times and bad.
However, you would expect the company to get a lift as infrastructure spending hits the economy. Sure enough, FAST stock is up about 20% in 2023, and there are likely more gains ahead.
Having said that, the stock is above the analysts’ price targets and near the upper end of its 52-week price range. Analysts have been slow to weigh in on the stock after the company missed on its quarterly earnings in July. But this isn’t a bad stock to wait on, and while you do, you can collect a dividend that currently pays out $1.40 per share annually and has been increasing for 24 consecutive years.
America’s Snacking Habits Remain Inflation-Proof
Mondelez International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) is perhaps best known as the company behind the Oreo cookie brand. But that’s just one of the brands in the company’s large portfolio of snack foods and beverage products.
As the company’s most recent earnings report shows, Americans continue to pay for their favorite creature comforts. Mondelez reported earnings per share of 76 cents on revenue of $8.51 billion. Both of those numbers were higher than in the same quarter the prior year.
The company’s dividend is solid with a 2.05% yield and a $1.54 payout on an annual basis. But many investors are noticing that the company has boosted its dividend by 60% in the last two years. And that’s on top of the 15% share price gain in MDLZ stock in the past 12 months.
A Solid Choice for Higher Oil Prices
Energy stocks are a good choice for investors who believe higher inflation is coming, and Xcel Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: XCEL) is a solid choice.
When the price of oil rises, it has a lagging effect on the rest of the economy. Rising oil prices increase producer prices, particularly transportation costs. Companies, in turn, attempt to pass along as much of those costs as they can to consumers in the form of higher prices.
Xcel Energy is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. It’s also one of the leading natural gas utilities. After spiking to over $9 in August 2022, the price of natural gas has come down significantly. So has XCEL stock, down 17% in the last 12 months.
But with oil and natural gas prices expected to soar, now is a good time to snag some shares of Xcel Energy stock which is down 2.5% in the 30 days ending August 3, 2023. The 12% 12-month gain may not excite you, but the stock also has a solid dividend that has a 3.39% yield. Plus, the company has raised its dividend in each of the last 20 years.