Thursday, May 23, 2024

Recession-Proof Stocks: Exploring the Resilience of Coca-Cola, Merck & Co, and Procter & Gamble


As the landscape of the global economy continues to evolve with challenges, uncertainties like sticky inflation, geopolitical tensions, and potential recession loom large, affecting consumer sentiment and market dynamics. Despite these headwinds, certain stocks have historically shown resilience, offering investors potential safe havens to safeguard their portfolios. Among these, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK), and Procter & Gamble (PG) stand out for their proven track record in dividend distribution, solid earnings growth, and strategic business moves that could help investors navigate through the turbulence.

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO)

Coca-Cola is renowned for its ability to withstand economic downturns, making it a must-have stock for investors looking to recession-proof their portfolios. As a Dividend Aristocrat, Coca-Cola boasts a rich history of paying out $1.84 in dividends annually, which translates to a 3.09% yield based on its current price. In the third quarter, the company’s net operating revenue saw an 8% year-over-year increase to $11.95 billion. Its earnings per share (EPS) also rose by 9% year-over-year to $0.71.

Analysts are optimistic about Coca-Cola’s future, projecting a 5.7% annual revenue increase to $45.50 billion in fiscal 2023, with an expected 8.5% improvement in the bottom line to $2.69 for the year. Barclays maintains an Overweight rating on Coca-Cola, with a price target suggesting nearly an 11% potential upside.

Procter & Gamble Co. (PG)

Procter & Gamble, a leading manufacturer in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, has shown impressive resilience with its stock rising more than 7% this year. The company’s dividend record is particularly noteworthy; it has not only paid dividends for 133 consecutive years but has also consistently increased its payout for 67 years, offering an annual dividend of $3.76 (yielding 2.39%).

With UBS rating Procter & Gamble as a Buy and a price target suggesting over a 13% upside, and Raymond James similarly optimistic with a potential 11.4% increase, PG represents a strong option for those seeking stability in tumultuous times.

Merck & Co Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Merck & Co has seen its shares soar nearly 15% year-to-date, signaling robust investor confidence. With significant growth prospects still on the horizon, UBS and Barclays have pegged the pharmaceutical giant with Buy and Overweight ratings respectively, anticipating potential upsides of over 18% and 15.7%.

Merck’s recent announcement to acquire Elanco Animal Health Inc. for $1.3 billion underscores its strategic ambition to expand its animal health drug pipeline, promising sustained growth even amid an economic downturn. This acquisition, according to Merck Animal Heath President Rick DeLuca, positions the company as a leader in aqua health, featuring a variety of vaccines, treatments, and supplements catering to both cold and warm water aquatic life.


In times of economic uncertainty, the allure of stable, dividend-paying stocks becomes ever more prominent. Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Merck & Co embody the virtues of resilience, sustained growth, and strategic foresight, making them ideal candidates for investors seeking to fortify their portfolios against the specter of recession. As market dynamics continue to evolve, keeping a keen eye on such stalwarts could offer both security and rewarding dividends amidst the turbulence.

Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett is a seasoned business journalist with over a decade of experience covering the global economy, finance, and corporate strategies. With a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Business Journalism from Columbia University, Alexandra has built a reputation for her insightful analysis and ability to break down complex economic trends into understandable narratives. Prior to joining our team, she worked for major financial publications in New York and London. Alexandra specializes in mergers and acquisitions, market trends, and economic

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