How to Stay On the Sunny Side in a Cloudy Market

Attitude, time are your best allies. In this scary market, we like McCormick & Company, a strong brand resistant to economic cycles.

The year has gotten off to a difficult start in the stock market. The major averages plunged as much as 10%, which is the common definition of a correction. Now the speculation is that a bear market (one that falls at least 20%) will follow. How you view these events is a matter of your personal perspective.

That perspective includes the time frame for your investments, your attitude, and your ability to adapt to a situation regardless of whether or not it is to your liking.

A common problem is “time distortion.” While we may claim to be long-term investors, many people react to the panic-inducing headlines and televised hyperbole and believe that they are about to suffer enormous losses unless they do something immediately. But the impulsive rush to sell betrays our long-term focus in two ways.

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First, that impulse usually comes when stocks are already down by a noticeable amount, when we would only be locking in the losses and avoiding any subsequent gains. Second, we allow our well-founded judgment of a business’s excellence to be replaced by the temporary madness of crowds, effectively accepting a failure that is undeserved. Worse still, we fear that our long-term focus is a mistake, distracted by the seeming wisdom of short-term traders who claim to have “gotten out in time” to avoid big losses. The truth is that they can make that claim only because they are always jumping in and out of the market, which means that they have also missed out on much of the larger gains that accrue over the long term.

The right attitude must be developed over many years. It’s a learning process that starts with making up our minds to be optimistic, rather than pessimistic. Bad things are going to happen from time to time in the stock market, but equities tend to go up a lot more often than they go down, so letting the pullbacks cloud our judgment will not accomplish much, except to help us avoid building wealth over time.

Recognizing that time is our best ally, then, is a key to maintaining that optimistic attitude. That helps foster our ability to adapt to the situation. When we decide which companies represent the best businesses to own, we then must consider stock price and decide whether to buy or wait for a better price. So when a stock goes on sale, it should be a happy occasion, not a reason for panic.

Unless something specific has happened to make a business less attractive, buying – not selling – that business' stock is the proper course, and it should be that much easier if we are using dollar-cost averaging, rather than making a lump-sum purchase. And reinvesting dividends allows us to take advantage of sale prices automatically. So we can consider down markets simply as a test of whether or not we can maintain perspective and execute our long-term plans.

Twice each month, Moneypaper Publications’ Executive Editor David Fish focuses attention on a worthwhile company that offers a no-fee Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP). DRIPs make it possible for people with very limited resources to invest in equities. Amounts of $25 or $50 (or up to many $1,000s) can be invested regularly (or irregularly) to buy shares or fractions of shares without going through a broker and without paying fees. To learn more about DRIPs and how to be come enrolled, please visit this page (opens in new tab).

Moneypayer is currently recommending McCormick & Company (Ticker: MKC)

Founded in 1889 and headquartered in Sparks, Maryland, McCormick & Company is a leading manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of spices, seasonings, flavorings, and other specialty food products for the consumer, industrial, and foodservice markets. Its brands include Lawry's, McCormick, Zatarain’s, Simply Asia, and Thai Kitchens (in the United States), Club House (in Canada), Ducros, Vahine, and Silvo (in Europe), and Schwartz (in the United Kingdom). Foreign operations account for over 40% of total revenues, which totaled $4.3 billion in fiscal 2015.

According to Yahoo! Finance, the consensus estimate of 11 analysts calls for the company to earn about $3.70 per share for the fiscal year that ends in November and to net about $4.06 in fiscal 2017, compared with $3.48 in fiscal 2015. The dividend was just raised for the 30th consecutive year and provides a yield of 2.0%.

What's attractive about McCormick is its resistance to economic cycles and strong brand names that generate consistently growing sales, both here and abroad, from consumer kitchens to restaurant and industrial settings. At a time of stock market uncertainty, McCormick is fresh off a banner year, suggesting that its shares will perform well in the short and long term, as they have in the past. Fashions may change, but taste buds will continue to crave the spices and seasonings that this company produces, as evidenced by the prominent positions that its products command in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country. Its long history of strong sales, earnings, and dividend growth is likely to be enhanced by strategic acquisitions and new product development over time.

McCormick is just one of many top U.S. stocks in which shares can be purchased through the company’s no-fee DRIP. For an alphabetical listing of all no-fee DRIPs, click here (opens in new tab). To learn more about McCormick & Co., click here (opens in new tab).

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Vita Nelson
Founding Publisher and Editor, Moneypaper
Ms. Vita Nelson is is the Editor and Publisher of Moneypaper's Guide to Direct Investment Plans, Chairman of the Board of Temper of the Times Investor Service, Inc. (a DRIP enrollment service), and co-manager of the MP 63 Fund (DRIPX).