5 ASX shares I’d buy for a US recession

A mature age woman with a groovy short haircut and glasses, sits at her computer, pen in hand thinking about information she is seeing on the screen.

A mature age woman with a groovy short haircut and glasses, sits at her computer, pen in hand thinking about information she is seeing on the screen.

Hand-wringing about the next recession seems to be a common activity for those who invest in ASX shares. Most investors fear a recession, and the slump (or even crash) in share prices it can bring with it.

But in 2023, the risk of a recession does seem to be rising. For one, interest rates around the world, but particularly in the United States, have been steadily and steeply climbing over the past 12 months.

If you know anything about the history of recessions, you’ll know that most are preceded by rising interest rates. Inflation continues to be a problem, and many investors are doubtful that the US Federal Reserve can pull off the fabled ‘soft landing’ of getting inflation down without sparking an economic downturn.

It’s worth pointing out that at this stage, anything can still happen. We may see a recession later this year or in 2024, or 2025. It could be mild or severe. Or maybe we do pull off a soft landing and avoid one altogether. All scenarios are possible.

But let’s assume one is coming for the American economy, which would inevitably drag the rest of the world down with it. Which ASX shares would be best placed to weather this storm?

5 ASX shares I would buy for an American recession

If I wished to protect my capital as much as possible in anticipation of a US recession, I would look to ASX’s most defensive stocks

That would start with Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL). Coles, as the country’s second-largest supermarket chain, is an inherently defensive company. No matter if there is a recession or not, we all have to eat and keep our households running.

With that in mind, Coles’ earnings base is highly defensive, which means it is a great company to hold in all kinds of economic weather. Coles’ hefty dividend would also come in handy, which the company kept raising during the pandemic.

In a similar vein, I would also look to Telstra Group Ltd (ASX: TLS). We all need to eat, but internet access is also something that most of us wouldn’t want to give up either, no matter how tight the budget gets.

Telstra’s position as the nation’s most dominant telco makes this a very strong business, which makes it another great pick for a recessionary environment. Telstra has also shown that its hefty dividend is recession-proof in recent years too.

Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) is my third pick. This toll-road operator used to be known as one of the safest dividend payers on the ASX. COVID played havoc with that reputation for a few years. But I highly doubt the next economic downturn will have us all locked indoors for months on end.

As such, Transurban’s toll roads should prove to be another inelastic and defensive source of earnings for the foreseeable future, no matter what is happening in the broader economy.

A focus on food, drinks and household items

Another investment I would turn to in order to protect an ASX share portfolio from a US recession is Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF). Rural Funds is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that specialises in farms and food production assets. These include macadamia, cattle, and almond farms, as well as vineyards.

Again, the need to eat is not dependent on what the economy is doing, so I would feel very comfortable owning this investment in good times and bad. Right now, this REIT offers a dividend distribution yield of over 6%. Considering Rural Funds’ ability to raise its dividend every year between 2019 and 2022, I consider it to be another recession-proof investment.

Finally, let’s discuss the iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF (ASX: IXI). This exchange-traded fund (ETF) specialises in investing in consumer staples stocks.

Consumer staples shares are companies that produce or sell food, drinks and other household items (there’s a bit of a theme here). But this ETF holds companies that are listed all around the world. Some of its top holdings include Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo, Colgate-Palmolive and Philip Morris International.

I think that this ETF can add some much-needed diversification to a portfolio, given its global orientation. And given its defensive nature, it’s my final pick for a recession-resistant portfolio.

The post 5 ASX shares I’d buy for a US recession appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has positions in Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Philip Morris International, Telstra Group, and iShares International Equity ETFs – iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended Philip Morris International and has recommended the following options: long January 2024 $47.50 calls on Coca-Cola. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Coles Group, Rural Funds Group, Telstra Group, and iShares International Equity ETFs – iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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