Seven weeks ago, I outlined my plans to create a portfolio of 10 companies that all have one thing in common: They provide a basic need or deliver life’s necessities. It’s my contention that basic-needs companies can offer investors stability and growth throughout any market environment thanks to consistent demand, incredible pricing power, and delectable dividends. This portfolio, which I have dubbed the Basic Needs Portfolio, will be pitted against the S&P 500 over a period of three years with the expectation of outperformance for all 10 stocks. I’ll be rolling out a new selection to this portfolio every week for the next three weeks.
You can review my previous five selections here:
Today, I plan to introduce the seventh of 10 selections to the Basic Needs Portfolio: Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)
How it fits with our theme
Of the 10 selections I plan to make, I suspect none will bring more questions than my selection of Ford to a portfolio filled with basic-needs selections. Ford certainly isn’t a traditional selection for a must-own stock, given how poorly it performed during the latest recession.
But it’s my opinion that Ford is nothing near the company it was even five years ago, thanks to CEO Alan Mulally, and it now possesses all the characteristics that would allow it to weather any domestic downturn.
In 2011 we surpassed the 1 billion car mark in the world, and this figure is only anticipated to rise as emerging-market countries build the infrastructure necessary to grow. As these countries expand from just one or two large centers into rural areas, the importance of automobiles cannot be understated.
In 2006, a Pew Research poll showed that 91% of respondents believed a car to be a “necessity item.” Understandably, transit systems, parking availability, and distance to things like a grocery or general store and your place of employment all play a role in determining whether a car is necessary. However, with a figure of 91%, I’d go so far as to call automobiles a growing necessity item.
I’ve said it six weeks in a row, and I’m going to say it for a seventh: There is no such thing as a risk-free investment. Even Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has factors that could send its stock lower.
First and foremost, even though Ford has been growing like a weed in the U.S. and China, it needs a stable level of global growth if it’s to succeed. Any huge macroeconomic event that can dramatically influence consumer spending (and I’m not talking a minor change in the tax code here) to the downside has the potential to reduce Ford’s unit sales and negatively affect its bottom line.