The consumer staples sector is comprised of companies that produce and sell items considered essential for everyday use. Consumer staples products include household goods, food, beverages, hygiene products, and other items that individuals are either unwilling or unable to eliminate from their budgets even in times of financial trouble. As a result, these companies are viewed as non-cyclical and able to maintain stable growth regardless of the state of the economy. Some of the big names in the sector include Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), Coca-Cola Co. (KO), and General Mills Inc. (GIS).
Consumer staples stocks, as represented by the benchmark Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP), have underperformed the broader market over the past year. XLP has provided investors with a total return of 41.6% over the past 12 months, well below the Russell 1000’s total return of 83.1%. These market performance numbers and all statistics in the tables below are as of March 23, 2021.
Here are the top 3 consumer staples stocks with the best value, the fastest growth, and the most momentum.
These are the consumer staples stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.
- Albertsons Companies Inc.: Albertsons Companies is a grocery store company that operates food and drug retail stores. It offers grocery products, general merchandise, health and beauty care products, pharmacy, fuel, and other items and services.
- Graham Holdings Co.: Graham Holdings is a small conglomerate that offers educational services, newspaper print, online publishing, and television broadcasting, as well as owning several other assets, including auto dealerships, restaurants, and hospice care facilities. On Feb. 24, 2021 the company announced financial results for its 2020 fiscal year (FY), which ended Dec. 31, 2020. Annual net income fell 8.5% as operating revenues for the year declined 1.5%. Graham said that it experienced reduced demand for its products and services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Bunge Ltd.: Bunge is a global agribusiness and food company. It supplies and transports agricultural commodities, including sugar ethanol, wheat, and corn. The company also processes oilseeds and grains and sells fertilizers.
These are the top consumer staples stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly year-over-year (YOY) percentage revenue growth and their most recent quarterly YOY earnings per share (EPS) growth.
Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one or the other figure unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of over 2,500% were excluded as outliers.
- Flowers Foods Inc.: Flowers Foods produces fresh packaged and frozen bakery products, including pastries, doughnuts, and bakery snack products. Some of its brands include Nature’s Own, Canyon Bakehouse, and Tastykake.
- Chegg Inc.: Chegg offers online educational services, including homework help and course selection. It also sells products such as textbooks for rent and manuals. The company announced in early February financial results for its FY 2020, which ended Dec. 31, 2020. Chegg posted an annual net loss of $6.2 million compared to a net loss of $9.6 million in FY 2019. Net revenue for the year rose 56.8%. The company said that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift to online learning that was already underway.
- Boston Beer Co. Inc.: Boston Beer is a brewer engaged in the business of producing and selling craft-brewed beers and cider products at its own breweries and various other contract breweries. On Feb. 17, 2021 the company announced its FY 2020 financial results, which ended Dec. 26, 2020. Annual net income rose 74.4% as net revenue for the year grew 38.9%. Boston Beer noted that its business was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, mostly through reduced keg demand from its on-premise locations as well as through higher labor and safety-related costs at its breweries.
These are the consumer staples stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months.
- Boston Beer Co. Inc.: See above for company description.
- Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc.: Spectrum Brands, the owner of brands such as Remington, Russell Hobbs, and Black+Decker, manufactures consumer products, including household appliances, batteries, pet supplies, personal care products, lawn and pest control, and portable lighting.
- Nu Skin Enterprises Inc.: Nu Skin Enterprises develops personal care products and nutritional supplements which it sells via direct sales often through a multilevel marketing strategy. The company announced in the first half of February that its current president, Ryan Napierski, will also take on the role of chief executive officer (CEO), effective Sept. 1, 2021. Napierski will succeed Ritch Wood, who is retiring from his position as CEO but will continue as an executive advisor through early 2022.
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