Strong Stocks in a Stormy Market

August has been a nerve-wracking month for investors. But here are five companies with ballast and proven growth.

August. School's out. Family vacations. Hot, humid days. State fairs and football practice. Congress escapes from Washington, D.C., and the President hangs out on the ranch in Texas. So why isn't the stock market sticking with the script of this normally languid month? You can't blame hurricanes because that scene's been eerily calm. How, then, can you invest to put the most space between your emotions and these twitchy traders?

The first answer is this: Any disruption close to the heart of the financial-trading system seems to hit innocent stocks harder than when the manufacturing, retail or transportation sector gets the shakes. Airlines and automakers get in trouble-heck -- that's happened before. But the story that Bear Stearns, a midsize investment firm, could lose big sums on hedge fund shenanigans and mortgage trading terrifies Wall Street and the pundits, even though this has as much to do with the entire stock market and the economy as does the man in the moon.

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Jeffrey R. Kosnett
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kosnett is the editor of Kiplinger's Investing for Income and writes the "Cash in Hand" column for Kiplinger's Personal Finance. He is an income-investing expert who covers bonds, real estate investment trusts, oil and gas income deals, dividend stocks and anything else that pays interest and dividends. He joined Kiplinger in 1981 after six years in newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun. He is a 1976 journalism graduate from the Medill School at Northwestern University and completed an executive program at the Carnegie-Mellon University business school in 1978.