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What’s on Goldman’s List of Top Defensive Stocks?


Defensive stocks may be helpful to counter the market volatility caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Dan Weil

Publish date:

Feb 24, 2022 5:33 PM EST

With the Russia-Ukraine war injecting major volatility into the equity market, you might be considering a move into defensive stocks.

Here is a list from Goldman Sachs of defensive names that have a long history of beating the overall market, as cited by CNBC.

Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Microsoft Corporation Report, Johnson and Johnson  (JNJ) – Get Johnson & Johnson Report, Visa V, Procter & Gamble  (PG) – Get Procter & Gamble Company Report, Mastercard  (MA) – Get Mastercard Incorporated Class A Report, AT&T  (T) – Get AT&T Inc. Report, UnitedHealth  (UNH) – Get UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Report, Verizon  (VZ) – Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report, Coca-Cola  (KO) – Get Coca-Cola Company Report and Merck  (MRK) – Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report.

Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff is bullish on Microsoft, putting fair value at $352, compared to Thursday’s close of $294.59.

He was impressed with Microsoft’s earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31, which were released last month.

“Wide-moat Microsoft reported solid results driven by strength in more personal computing, while enterprise-related revenues were more in line with our robust expectations,” Romanoff wrote in a commentary.

“Given the ongoing sell-off in software, we are encouraged by results, which suggest digital transformation-led demand remains intact,” he said. 

“Guidance [for the current quarter] was ahead on revenue compared to the FactSet consensus as well. Management sees no signals that demand is slowing. Azure remains a bright spot, with Windows and Gaming also performing well.”

As for Johnson & Johnson, its fourth-quarter results, released last month were reassuring.

 “[They] einforce our conviction for solid future growth, especially in the drug group (close to 60% of sales) that carries some of the most innovative products and support the firm’s wide moat,” Morningstar analyst Damien Conover wrote in a commentary. “The device group looks well positioned for growth.”

He puts fair value at $167, compared to Thursday’s close of $158.14. 

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