It’s understandable for investors to feel nervous right now. A few weeks into the New Year and markets are looking rocky. Indexes in the United Sates are in the red to start 2024 and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield is back above 4%. Furthermore, futures traders now see a 63% chance of an interest rate cut in March of this year, down from 81% as recently as Jan. 12. Looking beyond the U.S., inflation unexpectedly rose in the United Kingdom and Canada during December. This inflation further dampened expectations for interest rate cuts. Fear not! There are still some blue-chip stocks to buy that won’t keep you up at night.
China’s economy slowed more than expected in the fourth-quarter of 2023, and violence is spreading across the Middle East. There’s seemingly no end of things for investors to fret about. The good news is that there are some stocks that investors can buy and sleep soundly owning. These are so called “set it and forget it” stocks. Blue-chip companies whose shares perform well in any type of market—bull or bear. Here are three stocks to buy that won’t keep you up at night.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A / BRK.B)
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A / NYSE:BRK.B) is about as blue-chip as stocks get. The holding company of legendary investor Warren Buffett owns a diverse array of businesses ranging from the BNSF railway to General Re insurance and Jordan’s Furniture. And the company just completed its latest acquisition, taking full control of Pilot Travel Centers, the largest operator of truck stops in the U.S. and neighboring Canada.
Berkshire acquired the remaining 20% of Pilot Travel Centers that it didn’t already own from the Haslam family that also owns the Cleveland Browns NFL football team. Pilot Travel Centers operates more than 750 truck stop locations across the U.S. and Canada, and was one of the largest private companies in America before Berkshire purchased it. Buffett brokered the deal to buy Pilot in three stages—an initial purchase of 40% in 2017, a subsequent sale of 40% in early 2023, and the final sale of 20% now.
Berkshire Hathaway is also well-known for having a massive stock portfolio that’s worth $355 billion and comprised mostly of other blue-chip stocks such as Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and American Express (NYSE:AXP). Berkshire’s more affordable Class B stock has gained 15% in the last 12 months and 77% over the past five years.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is another reliable investment that people can feel good about. The e-commerce company has got its house in order after the pandemic and seems to be doing all the right things as it continues to diversify its business. Most recently, Amazon announced the launch of a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can answer shoppers’ questions about a specific product. The new AI model provides answers to questions it receives by summarizing product reviews and the online listing. Amazon easily earns its spot on our list of blue-chip stocks to buy that won’t keep you up at night.
The feature is aimed at saving shoppers time scrolling through pages of online reviews or reading through a listing to find information about a product they’re considering purchasing. Amazon said the new tool is designed not to veer off subject and will return an error message if it can’t answer a question. This is one of the many ways that Amazon is using AI, including to generate product reviews, help third-party sellers write listings, and forecast inventory.
AMZN stock has increased 58% in the last 12 months and is up 80% over five years.
Quick service restaurant chain McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is another steady blue-chip stock that won’t keep you up at night. Not only does the Big Mac maker have an enviable track record of posting strong financial results, but it is also a dividend powerhouse, having increased its quarterly distribution to shareholders for 47 consecutive years, ever since paying its first dividend back in 1976. Today, MCD stock pays a quarterly dividend of $1.67 a share for a yield of 2.29%.
Also impressive is that McDonald’s remains in growth mode. In December, the Chicago-based company announced plans to open 9,000 new restaurant locations and add 100 million members to its loyalty rewards program by 2027. For this year, McDonald’s is projecting net new restaurant growth of 4%. After next year, the company plans to grow its restaurant count by 5% annually. McDonald’s executives have said that by 2027 they want to have 50,000 restaurant locations worldwide.
MCD stock has gained 6% in the last 12 months and is up 60% over five years. If you are looking for stocks to buy that won’t keep you up at night, start here.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole 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.