7 Consumer Stocks to Beat Market Volatility

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gruma SAB (GMK), Cervezas (CCU), Anheuser-Busch (BUD), Concha y Toro Winery (VCO), Panasonic (PC), Unilever (UL) and Sony (SNE) are stocks that could add weight to portfolios in the present uncertain market conditions.

The U.S. debt ceiling concerns have pushed the S&P 500 to one-month lows. The index stocks corrected 3% in the past week on the risk of a default if the debt ceiling is not raised. In this scenario, stocks that are relatively less volatile could balance a portfolio. We have selected companies that seem less volatile and could help cut losses in the event of a further downside. These stocks carry an average monthly beta of 0.74 and have an upside of 28% over the next one year. Besides, they carry a mean buy rating of 52%.

The stocks are stacked by upside, great to greatest.

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7. Unilever is a leading fast moving consumer goods company with operations in over 100 countries. Its product range includes personal care, beverage, food and homecare. It holds well-known brands like Dove, Axe, Lux and Lipton in its repertoire.

Sales increased 4.3% during the first quarter 2011, boosted by growth across all product categories. The fastest growing geography was emerging markets, increasing 9.9% year-over-year during the quarter.

Volume growth for the quarter was 2.5% and pricing was up 1.8%. Financial performance looks respectable during a difficult quarter, in terms of spiking commodity prices and sagging consumer confidence. Unilever's promotion of its extended product range would drive growth in the emerging countries.

Analysts predict 14% upside for the stock in the next year and it is trading at 13.5 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

6. Vina Concha y Toro is a Chile-based producer and exporter of wines to about 135 countries.

During the first quarter 2011, revenue increased 17.5% to $166 million, driven by an 18.7% expansion in export sales. The volume of wines sold in the domestic market declined because of higher prices, and domestic revenue increased at 7% lower than exports.

Operating income rose 6.6% and operating margin was 13.6% vs. 15% for the same quarter prior year. Higher sales and cost of sales reduced operating margins.

The company generated higher cash from operations with cash and equivalents for the quarter standing at $158 million compared to $48 million in the same quarter prior year. The company's debt-to-equity ratio stood at 0.28 to 1. The stock is trading at 17.5 times its 2011 earnings with estimated upside of 15% in the next year.

5. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV is a brewer with 200 beer brands including global bestsellers Budweiser and Stella Artois

Net revenue during the first quarter of 2011 rose 5.6% with most of the growth being organic. The pricing power helped the company post decent top-line in the wake of a volume decline of 0.4% during the quarter. The company gained market share in five of its top ten markets namely the U.K., Argentina, Belgium, Russia and Germany.

EBITDA grew 10.4% compared to the first quarter of 2010 and EBITDA margin improved 37.9%, expanding 80 bps from the same quarter prior year. Net profit increased to $1.15 billion from $891 million in the first quarter of 2010 year owing to better operating performance and lower finance costs.

Management intends to deleverage and estimates a net debt to EBITDA target ratio of 2.0 during the course of 2012. The stock has upside potential of 20% over the next one year with 80% buy ratings. It is trading at 16 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

4. Compania Cervecerias Unidas SA is a Chile-based beverage company with operations in Chile, Argentina, Cayman Islands and Liechtenstein. The company's products include non-alcoholic beverages, beer, spirits, wines and confectionery.

Consolidated volumes for the first quarter of 2011 grew 6.1% and segments like Beer Chile and Beer Argentina, which account for 57% of sales, increased 9.6% and 6.9%, respectively. Non-alcoholic beverages grew only 3.7%, while wine volumes decreased 1.7%, respectively.

Net profit during the first quarter increased 35.2% on higher EBIT. Cash and cash equivalents increased to $385 million from $316 million in the year-ago quarter ensures that net debt reduced from $170 million to $102 million in the first quarter of 2011.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg give 57% buy ratings for the stock and it has an upside potential of 21% over the next one year.

3. Gruma, S.A.B. de C.V. is a Mexican company and a leading producer of tortilla and corn flour. The company operates in countries like the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela, Central America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

During the first quarter of 2011, volume increased 5% and pushed net sales 7% higher, in comparison to the same period in 2010. The company's subsidiaries Gruma Venezuela, Gimsa and Gruma Corporation were big contributors toward sales growth during the quarter.

EBITDA margin closed flat at 8.8% compared to the same period in 2010, while net income jumped following Gruma's stake sale in GFNorte during February 2011.

The company's debt decreased to $785 million from $1.491 billion as of December 2010, and $1.667 billion as of March 2010.

The stock can deliver up to 27% over the next one year and is trading at 12.7 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

2. Sony designs, manufactures and sells electronic equipment, instruments and devices worldwide.

Consolidated operating income for the fiscal year ended March 31 zoomed six times over the previous fiscal. The increase was driven by improved results in its Networked Products and Services segment despite an unfavorable impact of foreign exchange rates during the fiscal.

Sales came in at $86.5 billion, down 0.5% from the prior fiscal year owing to a slight moderation across all segments except the Consumer Professional Device and NPS segments. Sony's restructuring programs across its segments would probably reduce costs and add to the bottom line.

Analysts expect the stock to have around 29% upside over the next year. It is trading at 13.5 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

1. Panasonic manufactures and sells electronic and electric products for consumers, businesses and industrial users worldwide.

Consolidated net sales for fiscal 2011 increased 17% year-over-year with overseas sales growing faster. Domestic sales and overseas sales were up 13% and 22%, respectively. Globally, Europe and the U.S. were laggards, while emerging countries like China and India romped in with higher growth during this period.

Net income increased to around $890 million as opposed to a net loss of $1.25 billion in fiscal 2010. Operating profit grew 60% in fiscal 2011, riding on strong sales and rationalization of material costs and other general expenses, compensating for severe price competition, appreciation of the yen and rising material costs.

The company forecasts sales turnover of $105 billion with an operating profit of around $5 billion for fiscal 2012. Analysts expect an upside of 54% over the next year. The stock is trading at 13 times its estimated 2012 earnings.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 7 Consumer Stocks to Beat Market Volatility portfolio on Stockpickr.

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