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15 Stocks to Cope with Inflation: Barron's List

The selections include Philip Morris, ConocoPhillips, Avantor, Alexandria Real Estate Equites and CenterPoint Energy.
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With Wednesday’s news that consumer prices soared 7% last year, you may be looking for stocks that protect you from inflation.

Recent research from Hartford Funds strategist Sean Markowicz, as reported by Barron’s, identified five sectors that tend to generate positive returns in periods of inflation: utilities, real estate investment trusts, energy, consumer staples and healthcare.

REITs and energy enjoy seeing the prices of their products rise alongside everything else. And the other three sectors consist of necessities, so rising prices don’t hurt demand as much in those areas.

Screening from the Russell 1000 predominantly large-cap stock index, Barron’s chose the three most popular stocks in each of the five sectors, based on analyst ratings.

Here are the biggest market-cap stocks selected by Barron’s in each sector.

· Consumer staples: Philip Morris International (PM),

· Energy: ConocoPhillips (COP),

· Healthcare: Avantor (AVTR),

· REITs: Alexandria Real Estate Equities (ARE),

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· Utilities: CenterPoint Energy (CNP).

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As for Philip Morris, Morningstar analyst Philip Gorham likes the company, assigning it a wide moat.

“We believe there is upside to Philip Morris International, which could be unlocked over a multi-year period by the commercialization of existing and pipeline technologies in the heated tobacco category,” he wrote in a November commentary.

“We continue to believe that 2% is a … reasonable estimate of normalized volume decline, in total tobacco product terms. And with price/mix in the mid-single digits, we believe PMI can continue to generate high-single-digit earnings growth in the medium term.”

Gorham puts fair value for the stock at $108. It recently traded at $101.74, up 0.74%, and has gained 24% over the past year.

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