The mood swings of the stock market this week resemble a manic-depressive who is off his or her meds.
A slew of disappointing corporate earnings and falling oil prices pushed equities lower Tuesday, but they are up slightly as of Wednesday afternoon.
The major culprit for the market downturn has been struggling aluminum giant Alcoa, which reported quarterly earnings this week that fell short of analysts' expectations. A cyclical company that is a barometer or economic fluctuations, Alcoa's weak operating results have spooked investors.
Alcoa is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AA? Learn more now.
It was a downbeat way to kick off the third-quarter earnings season, exacerbated by fears that a Federal Reserve interest rate hike will finally gore the aging bull market.
But rather than fret about financial ephemera and oil price gyrations, investors should stick to defensive growth.
Below are snapshots of three blue chips on course for sizable capital appreciation, and they are also trading at attractive valuations. These reliable stocks won't let investors down in a broader market roiled by anxiety.
The stocks are chosen from the banking, health care and technology sectors, which have benefited in recent weeks as investors afraid of Fed tightening flee the "safe haven" sectors of real estate, telecommunication and utilities.
1. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS - Get Report)
With net assets of $857 billion, so-called Scotiabank is one of the best-managed banks in the world, and it is poised to thrive for the rest of this year and beyond. Based in Toronto, Scotiabank is well diversified in both operations and geography, and it is expanding through organic growth and acquisitions.
North American economic growth remains on track, helping make Canadian banks an under-appreciated investment. Banks based in the Great White North are among the world's strongest and safest.
Canada restricts domestic competition for its banks from foreign companies, while also imposing tougher regulatory controls than does the U.S. In light of the recent scandal surrounding Wells Fargo, these controls are prudent and they are paying off.
Wells Fargo is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells WFC? Learn more now.
Scotiabank's TTM P/E is 12.41, compared with a TTM P/E of 15.48 for its industry.
Shares trade at about $53. The 16 analysts offering one-year price targets for Scotiabank have a median target of $74.50, with a high estimate of $78.
2. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report)
As this wheezing, tired bull market totters through its seventh year, protection against a belated correction is more imperative than ever. That is where drug and health care giant J&J comes in.
With a market cap of $324 billion, a robust dividend yield of 2.67% and a diversified portfolio of consumer products that includes pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and devices, J&J should continue to reward investors with a strong combination of income and capital appreciation.
J&J's consumer division produces well-known and trusted brands, including Aveeno, Band-Aid, Listerine, Neutrogena and Tylenol. J&J's medical devices and diagnostics division offers products used by health care providers in surgery, orthopedics, vision care, infection prevention and diagnostics.
Demand for all these products is exploding around the globe, fueled by aging populations in developed and developing markets.
J&J's TTM P/E is 22.06, about in line with its industry.
Shares trade at about $118. The 19 analysts offering one-year price targets for J&J have a median target of $130, with a high estimate of $142.
2. Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report)
As a maker of proprietary chips for smartphones and other devices, Qualcomm is plugged into global smartphone growth like no other company. Boasting a market cap of $97 billion, the semiconductor giant owns highly valuable patents for mobile telecom.
Whenever a smartphone manufacturer sells a handset that provides high-speed data connections, Qualcomm earns a royalty on the sale, regardless of the device's brand. Qualcomm's chips are integral to smartphones made by Apple, shares of which have been on a tear this week.
Apple is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL? Learn more now.
Qualcomm's trailing 12-month price-earnings ratio is 19.31, compared with a TTM P/E of 24.8 for its industry.
Shares trade at about $65. The 25 analysts offering one-year price targets for Qualcomm have a median target of $67, with a high estimate of $75.
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