Fed-Proof Your Portfolio: 3 Smart Stocks to Buy Now

Stocks to buy

Amid recent market volatility, certain growth stocks gained favor, but many deserving businesses remain overlooked. As 2024 becomes more welcoming for bullish investors, most investors also seek fresh opportunities in different stocks. Smart stocks that can outperform in times of uncertainty may trade at a higher premium, and are increasingly in higher demand.

In recent years, the stock market has been facing much uncertainty. However, the S&P 500 surged roughly 20% over the past year. Long-term investors may expect a bumpy ride, but while uncertainties loom, consistent investment in robust businesses shows potential growth. Such investments allow one to capitalize on market highs and leverage downturns for additional investments. 

Although past performance doesn’t guarantee future success, resilient companies with solid use cases and a broad competitive advantage tend to thrive over time, contributing to a robust and diversified portfolio.  Here are three of the best industry-graded stocks that deserve a spot in your portfolio. 

McDonald’s (MCD)

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Achieving 9% global same-store sales growth, McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is truly the fast food behemoth investors should never miss out on. The company boasts profitability and a record-high diluted earnings per share of $11.56. While the company’s 2024 outlook is less-than-positive with some analysts downgrading the company’s profitability on its claims of becoming more affordable, growth can still be possible over time if volumes rise as a result. Thus, many investors anticipate McDonald’s growth rate slowing to the low-single-digit level, and a flat operating profit margin in the coming year.

That said, McDonald’s moat around its core brand and global presence remains unchallenged. I have another company in the same industry on this list, for the same reason. Fast food sales tend to remain robust in times of trouble. As consumers look to trade down in their dining preferences, McDonald’s could conceivably see a larger share of wallet in the overall dining sector.

Renowned for pricing power, McDonald’s maintains a solid global market presence, and remains a buy in my books.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B)

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Even with looming inflation and economic struggles, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B) is in a strategic and optimistic position. Boasting over $150 billion in cash, $341.1 billion in securities, the Warren Buffett-led giant stands out as a defensive conglomerate with growth potential. Buffett’s long-term approach emphasizes capital preservation, making it a prudent choice in downturns. With ample liquidity, Berkshire is poised to seize opportunities in a major correction.

Moreover, the company’s endurance an strength are evident in its growth. The company is poised to succeed in the coming years as it showcased impressive revenue growth, from $162 to $302 billion over the past two years. With substantial investments in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Japanese firms, and others, the stock attracts value and momentum investors. As Berkshire pursues a long-term strategy, it is a value-conscious option amid tech uncertainties.

Restaurant Brands (QSR)

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Prioritized for growth, this other fast food chain stock Restaurant Brands (NYSE:QSR) is also wasting no time in seizing new opportunities worldwide. With about 30,375 worldwide restaurants, major efforts are starting to pay massive dividends. The company has begun evaluating master franchisees and joint ventures. In Q3 2023, 250 new restaurants opened, fostering a 4.2% year-over-year increase in the overall count.

Restaurant Brands emphasize service improvement through training, operations, reimagining, and appealing menus for enhanced guest satisfaction, driving comparable sales. Core platforms, menu balance, delivery expansion, promotions, breakfast focus, and product launches fueled traffic and revenue growth. Additionally, the company prioritized digital sales, with a 40% year-over-year increase in Q3 2023, driven by kiosks and delivery, reflecting vital digitalization and Tim Hortons’ growth. Optimism surrounds international digital sales growth with diverse service modes.

Restaurant Brands International CEO, Josh Kobza, recently announced the acquisition of Carrols Restaurant Group, aiming for long-term, high-return investments. While solving a crucial issue adds a $750 million debt for Restaurant Brands, this deal hasn’t come without investor scrutiny. That said, if Restaurant Brands’ management team executes smoothly, the remodeling strategy could pay off big-time over the long-term.

On the date of publication, Chris MacDonald did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Chris MacDonald’s love for investing led him to pursue an MBA in Finance and take on a number of management roles in corporate finance and venture capital over the past 15 years. His experience as a financial analyst in the past, coupled with his fervor for finding undervalued growth opportunities, contribute to his conservative, long-term investing perspective.

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