How Are Defensive Stocks Doing? (KO, MRK, PG, CAG, BUD, HRL, MO, CG MCD, KFT, GM)

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Last Friday, we wrote about defensive stock havens for a crummy stock market.  We also warned that in true market selling extremes there is no such thing as a true haven, and stocks that do "less bad" are still down.  But interestingly enough, some of these names are holding up rather well.  These or related stocks are where investors start to look when things aren’t falling off a cliff.  Here is how the market fared today, followed by the performance of defensive stocks:

DJIA                13,270.68 (-387.18; -2.83%)
S&P500         1,453.09 (-44.40; -2.96%)
NASDAQ        2,556.49 (-56.49; -2.16%)
10YR-Bond   4.79% (-0.07%)

THE ONES THAT WORKED, OR NOT SO BAD ANYWAY

Coca-Cola Co. (NUSE:KO) closed down only 1 penny at $55.85, just under recent highs of $55.88. That’s not too bad.  Does anyone ever stop drinking sodas or water?  Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) isn’t faring as well with a 2% drop to $68.50, but that is still close to its $70.17 recent highs.  McDonalds (NYSE:MCD) fell only 0.7% in regular trading to $49.93, down from recent highs of $53.22.  This is still better than the market as a whole, but this is still up close to 50% from year lows.  ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) fell 1.8% to $25.91, down from recent highs of $28.35.  The food giant is fairly valued, and this was positive some today.  Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) spent most of the day up and closed down only 0.3% at $64.97 and still close to recent highs of $66.30.  Not bad.  Afterall, they get into your pocketbook regardless of the market unless you stop shaving, washing hands, and brushing your teeth.

DEFENSIVE STOCKS NOT WORKING

Merck (NYSE:MRK) fell only 1.7% in a crummy day and never really got to be profitable.  Maybe a ‘less bad day’ is a good to some, but barely.  Altria (NYSE:MO) fell 2.7% to $67.67 and Carolina Group (NYSE:CG) also fell 3.5% to $72.33..  Maybe the market tank isn’t making everyone go smoke afterall.  Hormel (NYSE:HRL) fell 2.6% to $31.76 today, but this is now down from recent highs of $39.88.  Maybe SPAM is not that well regarded afterall. Kraft (NYSE:KFT) fell 4% to $31.45, aldo down a lot from the $37.20 recent highs.  Peltz and Buffett aren’t able to offer any stability?  Anheuser Busch (NYSE:BUD) fell almost 5% today to $48.50, down a lot from the 455.19 recent highs.  Booze, particularly cheap beer is supposed to do well.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) was the only one of DJIA components that closed UP…up a whole 3 cents to $34.85, but still.  Go figure.

Jon C. Ogg
August 9, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.