Five stocks you should own when recession strikes.
Now that Alan Greenspan is warning that the U.S. could be headed for a double-dip recession, investors should be looking to hedge or reverse their positions in equities. If we are, indeed, headed for negative GDP, it’s hard to know what stocks may thrive, but if history can give us any clues, we might want to look in unexpected places. Here are five tickers to do more research on if you want to protect your money with stocks during a recession:
1) SPDR Barclays Capital 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (NYSE:BIL).
When the economy really hits the fan, treasuries have time and again proved the ultimate safe haven. People keep buying them even when their returns goes negative! That happened late in 2008 when investors were more comfortable with negative returns than they were with the volatile markets. The Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF provides somewhere to park your money when you’ve lost faith in just about everything else.
2) iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (Public, NYSE:VXX).
When the markets turn sour, equities get volatile. That means one place to look for a return is on the volatility itself! Strange concept, but it works. The VIX Short-Term Futures ETN from iPath offers exposure to a daily rolling long position in the first and second month VIX futures contracts. It’s essentially mirroring back volatility in S&P 500 Index. That means the more volatile the markets, the better off you do. VXX is down 25 percent over the past six months.
3) Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO).
According to at least one writer, you can’t do much better than booze and tobacco during recessions. What better time to drink and smoke away your woes away then when the economy looks blackest? “Alcoholic beverage makers not only beat the market in 80 percent of recessions prior to this one, they actually rose an average of 6 percent,” Nilus Mattive writes. “Household products manufacturers posted a gain of 1.8 percent and outperformed in every single instance… And tobacco companies rose 9.6 percent and beat the market every time.” Throughout 2009, Altria – the maker of Malboro cigarettes – paid dividends of $1.29 and rose from $15 to $19. Still, that’s off the stock’s pre-recession highs of $24. There could be something more at work here, though: changing U.S. sentiment towards tobacco. Explore booze stocks for potential recession beaters.
4) Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT).
Everyone likes to save money. During a recession, though, pinching pennies goes from a past-time to an absolute necessity. People who might otherwise eschew shopping at Wal-Mart suddenly find themselves in line with everyone else. That’s one of the reasons Wal-Mart has beaten the S&P by more than 30 percent since the start of 2008.
5) ProShares UltraShort Real Estate ETF (NYSE:SRS).
The most straightforward way to profit off a falling market is to pinpoint where the problems are going to be and find an inverse ETF that covers that sector or commodity. One of the triggers of the Great Recession was, of course, the real estate and mortgage-backed derivatives collapse. At one point late in 2008, the ProShares UltraShort Real Estate ETF was trading for more than $1,000 a share! It closed at $23.58 Friday (factoring in a 1:5 split in April).
If you really crave risk, you might take a peek at Direxion Funds Direxion Daily 30-Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares (NYSE:TMF). This Direxion fund seeks 300 percent of the price performance of the NYSE Current 30 Year U.S. Treasury Index. It’s up 34 percent over the past six months.