Trade Bullish Companies for Bearish Times

During a recession, the types of companies that usually perform well are grouped in a category called Consumer Staples. These companies make products people will use no matter what the state of the economy, and are usually located in what is known as the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Industry (FMCG). Products included in this category are: cleaners, toothpastes, toilet paper, paper towels, detergents, and soaps. The leading companies who engage in the production and sale of these products are Clorox (CLX), Colgate-Palmolive (CL), Proctor & Gamble (PG), Unilever (UN), and Chattem (CHTT).

Clorox (CLX)

Clorox (CLX) manufactures and markets a wide range of consumer products including bleaches, cleaning products, filters, containers, and food products. Some of their well-known brands include Clorox, Tilex, Pine-Sol, Brita, S.O.S., Kingsford, Hidden Valley, and K.C. Masterpiece.

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Colgate-Palmolive (CL)

Colgate-Palmolive (CL) manufactures and markets oral, personal, and home care products, as well as pet nutrition products. Some of their well-known brands include Colgate, Palmolive, Irish Spring, Soft Soap, AJAX, and Tom’s of Maine.

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Proctor & Gamble (PG)

Proctor & Gamble (PG) provides consumers with branded products in the areas of beauty, health and well being, and household care. Some of their notable brands include Head & Shoulders, Cover Girl, Pantene, Gillette, Crest, Oral-B, Downey, Tide, Duracell, Bounty, Charmin, and Pampers.

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Unilever (UN)

Unilever (UN), which is a European company and one of Proctor & Gamble’s main competitors, produces and supplies consumer goods in the areas of food and home and personal care. Their notable brands include: Wishbone, Bertolli, Breyer’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Axe, Suave, Radiant, and Snuggle.


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Chattem (CHTT)

Chattem (CHTT) engages in the manufacturing and marketing of over-the-counter healthcare products, toiletries, and dietary supplements. They produce such brands as Gold Bond, Cortizone-10, Icy-Hot, Aspercreme, Pamprin, Selsun Blue, Garlique, and Dexatrim.


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Another segment of companies that tend to benefit from a recession are Discount Retailers. These are retailers that sell a variety of lesser-known brands at discount prices. When money is tight during a recession, consumers tend to turn to these cheaper, lesser-known brands. The companies that fit best into this category are retail Giant Wal-Mart (WMT), Dollar Tree (DLTR), and TJX Companies (TJX).


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Wal-Mart (WMT)

Wal-Mart (WMT) is the nations largest retailer and offers products ranging from apparel and general merchandise, to electronics, automotive goods, hardware products, sporting goods, toys, furniture, and grocery items. In addition, Wal-Mart operates bulk retailer and club membership store Sam’s Club.

Dollar Tree (DLTR)

Dollar Tree (DLTR) operates discount variety stores that offers merchandise for sale at a fixed price of $1.00. All of their stores are located in the United States and include names such as Dollar Tree, Deal$, and Dollar Bills. Its stores offer products including candy and basic food, beauty care, household products, party supplies, greeting cards, and toys, and seasonal goods.

TJX Companies (TJX)

TJX Companies (TJX) operates as an off-price retailer of apparel and home fashion products in both the United States and internationally. Their stores include, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, A.J. Wright, and Bob’s Stores. Its European stores operate under the name T.K Maxx. These stores offer brand name and licensed apparel at a discount from higher end retailers.

While making money during a recession is difficult for many companies, corporations that operate in the areas of Consumer Staples and Discount Retail tend to do better because of both the demand for their products and the affordability of them. A recession doesn’t mean consumers stop spending money, it just means they spend less and buy lower cost products. Other companies you may also want to consider include McDonalds (MCD) and Burger King (BKC), both of which own and franchise fast food restaurants. Families typically tend to go out to eat less during a recession, but fast food restaurants are popular because they are low cost and quick.

Investors considering investing in the companies mentioned in this article might also want to consider stock options. Stock options enable investors to tailor the risk/reward of an investment. Investors can use stock options to provide “stock insurance” for limiting a stock’s downside. A put option and a married put are examples of strategies, which can be used to provide limited downside. Investors can also use stock options to provide monthly income, covered call investing, for example.

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