If you've sworn off stocks due to the Dow Jones Industrial Average's gyrations and volatility -- ripping up 200 points one day, on good news, only to plunge 100 points the next day, after the release of a negative data point -- you're not the only one.
This is not a market for rookies, the squeamish, or those who like calm investing conditions.
Moreover, it's understandable if you're feeling perplexed.
And here's a full disclosure item: Traders commenting on the choppy Dow say volatile conditions are likely to persist for a while, at least until institutional investors (IIs) get a better sense of what the coping mechanism for the Europe government debt crisis will be.
Institutional investors want to know if greater fiscal integration -- i.e. the creation of supranational fiscal organization -- will help stabilize Italy's finances and/or those of other debt-plagued nations. These IIs also want to know the funding mechanism: mostly paid for by Germany and France? Bulk of intervention funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? The European Central Bank (ECB)? And what happens to the euro? Will a second, continental currency be created? As you can see, there are a lot of unanswered questions.
Also, a caution: if you can't tolerate the risk of a 20 percent pull-back in a stock or group of stocks, you probably should not be invested in stocks, as even under normal financial and economic conditions, stocks can easily decline 10 percent in a hurry; amid these conditions, a 20 percent is not unusual.
Those points noted, here are five companies for long haul that should prove lucrative, if you have the patience to wait out today's choppy investment environment. Or as they say on the New York Stock Exchange, Wait Til The Sun Shines Nellie. [The song is about waiting for the rain (challenging/difficult times) to end, and traders began singing it back in the Great Depression. It's sung on Christmas Eve and on New Year's Eve.]
Coca-Cola (KO), recent price: $68.96, P/E: 13
Boeing (BA), recent price: $74.03, P/E: 15
IBM (IBM), recent price: $182.60, P/E: 15
United Technologies (UTX), recent price: $73.99, P/E: 14
Verizon (VZ), recent price, $38.34, P/E 16.
Safest Stock: Coca-Cola (KO).
Best Stock: (higher risk) United Technologies (UTX).
Market Analysis: All of the aforementioned are companies with demonstrated business models in established markets, although of course many are branching out in to new markets / emerging markets. But the important point is that these companies know how to operate in their traditional sectors -- not a mean feat in these economic conditions.
Obviously, no one can predict with certainty where the Dow is headed in a week, a month or quarter. But, long-term, the argument forwarded here is that stocks of companies with demonstrated business models like the aformentioned five will perform well.