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Sleep soundly this earnings season with these reliable and stable stocks

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There may be few stocks that can give investors comfort this earnings season, as companies deal with the hottest inflation print in decades and the prospect of sharp interest rate hikes. CNBC Pro screened stocks that met the following criteria: Earnings per share beat estimates by at least 1% over the past three quarters Lowest stock price volatility in the S&P 500 Positive total return for 2022 (as of July 8) The search found a slew of consumer non-cyclical, utilities and health-care names that can provide some stability to portfolios during times of market volatility. Investors are monitoring corporate reports for the risk of declining earnings forecasts, which could indicate how companies will address challenges in the latter half of the year. On Thursday, shares fell as traders took a disappointing start to big bank earnings from JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. Here’s our list: Some consumer non-cyclical names that made the list include Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Hershey’s. All three giants exhibited low price volatility over the past three years, even posting double-digit total returns, including dividends. The stocks have given returns of 12%, 11% and 12% respectively this year. Notably, General Mills has repeatedly exceeded its all-time high this year. In its most recent earnings report, the food company pleased investors after showing it could pass rising costs on to consumers, as rising inflation prompts more consumers to dine at home. Health care stock Becton, Dickinson & Company made the list. The company is seen as a buying opportunity by Wells Fargo, which last month upgraded the stock to an overweight rating. The firm said Becton, Dickinson & Co. can handle macro challenges better than its peers. “Given the pricing power of BDX and the less alternative nature of its products, we see BDX as an excellent defensive name given the risk of a recession,” wrote analyst Larry Begelson. Other names that surfaced include Coca-Cola, telecommunications stock AT&T, health care name Bristol-Myers Squibb and finance stock Jack Henry & Associates. The names of two utilities that surfaced are CMS Energy and DTE Energy.

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