Stock markets rise and fall with political and economic events, from Canada's federal election to the signing of trade agreements to a worsening global outlook. How to find stability?
We asked three investment advisers to recommend stalwart stocks they believe will hold up over the longer term of three to five years. Here are their choices, in no particular order. These picks are in addition to the 15 they recommended in an earlier story.
(Experts warn, as always, that investors need to make their own decisions about what will best fit into their portfolios, given their unique life circumstances and other factors.)
Sylvain Brisebois, regional manager and investment adviser, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., Ottawa:
Magna International Inc.: A strong North American housing sector tends to be a leading indicator for automobiles, and this bodes well for Aurora, Ont.,-based Magna. "The great thing about Magna is they seem to be picking the platforms that grow the fastest. This is a parts manufacturer, so they don't necessarily participate in every type of car. But the cars that they participate in seem to be doing quite well," says Mr. Brisebois. Sales of truck models that Magna contributes to have also picked up, he adds.
Carnival Corp.: As the U.S. economy improves and consumers have more discretionary funds, Miami's Carnival benefits. It's the world's largest cruise ship company with a passenger capacity of about 200,000 and more than 100 vessels in service. It also owns various lines, including Costa and Princess. "It gives them the ability to reach a diverse group of travellers," says Mr. Brisebois.
Cisco Systems Inc.: Cisco, of San Jose, Calif., is a bandwidth company whose services are required by Netflix Inc. and other giants. It has enjoyed good financial results recently and gained market share. Its dividend has almost tripled in the past three years, says Mr. Brisebois.
Manulife Financial Corp.: The likely rise in interest rates in the near future will benefit Toronto-based Manulife, which operates in 20 countries with total assets under management of nearly $600-billion, says Mr. Brisebois. The company also offers a good dividend, and there's a good chance they will increase that over time, he adds.
Stan Wong, director of wealth management and a portfolio manager, ScotiaMcLeod, Toronto:
Alphabet Inc. (parent holding company of Google Inc.): "Google has executed well in its core business areas. I expect them to continue to grow well organically and through strategic acquisitions. Long term, they will benefit from the growing demand for Internet search-engine advertising and continued monetization of other businesses, including YouTube," says Mr. Wong. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., also has the advantage of strong management and strategic thinking, he adds.
Palo Alto Networks Inc.: Palo Alto, of Santa Clara, Calif., provides network security to companies and government entities worldwide, the importance of which has been underscored by recent high-profile corporate security breaches. "Palo Alto is considered an industry leader in this space," says Mr. Wong.
United Health Group Inc.: As a health benefits services and systems provider whose business is based in the United States, United is well positioned to benefit from that country's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare, says Mr. Wong. A large and broad-based aging U.S. population also needs the services this Minnesota-based company can provide, he adds.
BlackRock Inc.: New York-based BlackRock is one of the world's leading investment management companies, with more than $4.7-trillion of assets under management, providing it with advantages in both scale and volume. BlackRock also owns the iShares franchise of exchange traded funds, which are expected to continue to grow in acceptance and popularity, Mr. Wong says.
Craig Fehr, investment strategist with Edward Jones in St. Louis, Mo.:
CI Financial Corp.: Despite the challenges in today's market, there is still room for the bull phase to play out, and CI of Toronto is positioned to benefit from an extended period of positive equity-market performance, says Mr. Fehr. "I think investors should look for opportunities to diversify within the financial services sector, beyond just the banks. CI Financial can provide exposure to the capital markets environment that I think still looks attractive today," he says.
Merck & Co. Inc.: Merck, based in Kenilworth, N.J., is a strong performer in a health-care sector that Mr. Fehr finds attractive. "At a broad level, I think what is attractive about Merck is we're seeing this revival of big pharma," he says, noting that big pharmaceutical firms have been encouraged to focus more on developing and bringing new and innovative drugs to market. "That's where Merck really shines, in my opinion. They have that broad portfolio. You don't want to be leveraged to just one or two drugs," he says.
United Technologies Corp.: United, of Farmington, Conn., is well diversified both geographically and from a product standpoint. It also has a hand in many strong businesses, says Mr. Fehr. "They manufacture elevators. They manufacture aircraft engines. Not only do they benefit from selling the product itself, they benefit from the ongoing service and maintenance of those industries," Mr. Fehr notes.
Oracle Corp.: As we become a more sophisticated and technologically advanced global society, there is more data to store. Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle is well positioned to help provide such services, says Mr. Fehr. "They're a leader in database software," says Mr. Fehr, who also notes that Oracle has positioned itself to take advantage of the opportunity to provide services as more and more businesses transition to "the cloud."