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While rising stock indexes suggest a resounding economic recovery, people in the real world are facing a different paradigm. With myriad headwinds like elevated inflation and high borrowing costs placing significant burdens on consumers, investors may feel more comfortable looking at blue-chip stocks.

As with any team sport, the investment game has its ups and downs. A successful market participant responds to these fluctuations by making prudent decisions regarding their holdings. One of the smartest ideas an investor can make is to consider blue-chip stocks; that is, companies that have a good reputation and a robust and predictable business.

These are certainly not the most exciting ideas. Instead, imagine these corporate giants as a giant pickup truck. Unlike a rather fragile sports car, you don’t have to dodge every little pothole. Instead, you just drive over these annoyances.

That’s the privilege of blue-chip stocks, and that’s why below you’ll find some tempting ideas for you to consider.

Church & Dwight (CHD)

Boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Powder

Source: ThamKC / Shutterstock.com

One of the top names in consumer protection products, Church & Dwight (NYSE:Congenital heart disease) is one of the best blue-chip stocks because of its underlying utility. Church & Dwight – best known for its Arm & Hammer brand – offers a wide range of home and personal care products and benefits from a perpetually relevant story. No matter what’s going on with the economy, people will need essentials like oral care products.

Thanks to its predictable business, CHD is relatively trustworthy. Between the second quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, the company’s average earnings per share reached about 82 cents. Compared to analysts’ expectations, Church & Dwight posted an average earnings surprise of 8.5%. That’s not bad at all.

For the trailing 12 months (TTM), the company reported net income of $780.1 million, or earnings per share of $3.16. Revenue during this period reached $5.94 billion. For fiscal year 2024, experts predict earnings per share to increase 9.15% year-on-year to $3.46. The bottom line is that the home goods giant could report revenue of $6.13 billion, up 4.5% year-on-year.

Home Depot (HD)

Home Depot window display (HD) on a sunny day

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

A company that actually needs no introduction, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) specializes in the home improvement market. What makes the company so fascinating is that things are constantly going wrong. Call it Murphy’s Law or some other unlucky phenomenon. When it rains, it rains heavily. And no, these things happen whether the market is in a bull or bear cycle.

Admittedly, Home Depot isn’t the most exciting idea. However, because something is always happening, the retailer serves the public in moments of need. As a result, it enjoys consistency. Over the last four quarters, its average earnings per share have been about $3.73. This performance has resulted in an average earnings surprise of 2.15%.

For the TTM period, Home Depot reported net income of $14.87 billion, or earnings of $14.91 per share. Revenue reached $151.83 billion. For the current fiscal year, analysts expect earnings per share to grow modestly by 1.2% to $15.29. Revenue could reach $153.96 billion, up around 1%. While HD isn’t exactly exciting, it’s one of the blue-chip stocks that should steer your portfolio in the right direction.

Walmart (WMT)

Walmart (WMT) sign in front of the Walmart store at sunset

Source: fotomak / Shutterstock.com

Another major retailer, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) falls under the category of large retailers. With its one-stop-shop solution, one of the company’s biggest advantages when it comes to buying blue-chip stocks is its underlying everyday low pricing policy. By focusing on volume, Walmart has captured a huge share of the consumer market (both in the non-essential and essential goods space).

While WMT may be a predictable idea for blue-chip stocks, it is one of those ideas that can be relied upon. Over the last four quarters, the company’s average earnings per share reached 54.5 cents. Contrary to analysts’ expectations, the performance resulted in an earnings surprise of 8.28%.

During the TTM period, the wholesaler reported net income of $18.94 billion, or earnings of $2.33 per share. Revenue during this cycle reached $657.33 billion. The latest quarterly revenue growth rate (YOY) is 6%.

For the current fiscal year, experts expect earnings per share to reach USD 2.43, an increase of almost 20% over the previous year. Sales could reach USD 676.64 billion, an increase of 13.7% over the previous year’s figure of USD 594.85 billion.

McDonald’s (MCD)

McDonald's restaurant in Thailand.

Source: Tama2u / Shutterstock

One of the iconic corporate giants of the USA, MC Donalds (NYSE:MCD) is one of the best blue-chip stocks to buy. Over the years, Golden Arches has faced challenges, from increasing competition in the fast-casual space to concerns about the nutritional value of its offerings. But the company benefits from tremendous brand strength and recognition. It also demonstrates a flair for reinventing itself to reflect changing consumer behavior.

Over the last four quarters, McDonald’s has posted an average earnings per share of nearly $2.96. Frankly, it missed analysts’ forecasts for the first quarter of 2024, which called for earnings of $2.72 per share, by two cents. But even with that miss, the company’s average earnings surprise during that period was just under 6%. This shows the company’s resilience.

In the TTM period, the Golden Arches reported net income of $8.6 billion, or earnings per share of $11.76. Revenue reached $25.76 billion, with the recent quarterly revenue growth rate of 4.6%. In fiscal 2024, earnings per share could increase 9.3% to $12.19. Revenue could reach $26.62 billion, up 11.8% year-over-year.

Visa (V)

several Visa credit cards

Source: Kikinunchi / Shutterstock.com

Financial services giant Visa (NYSE:V) – which specializes in card payment solutions – is a tricky argument for buying blue-chip stocks. It is certainly one of the leading corporate institutions. However, there are doubts about the sector’s profitability. Consumers in particular (especially younger ones) are resorting to credit cards to make ends meet.

Combined with rising delinquencies, these dynamics present a challenge. But if one were to look at the situation as a glass half full, one could say that the accumulation of debt reflects broader confidence in the American system. In addition, the labor market has been generally robust, perhaps suggesting that the country could overcome its problems.

So far, the financial figures look convincing. In the last four quarters, the average earnings per share was $2.30. This development led to an earnings surprise of 2.93%. For the 2024 fiscal year, experts forecast EPS growth of 24.4% to $9.95. Sales could increase by almost 21% year-on-year to $35.94 billion.

Even better: Visa’s growth forecasts exceed those of its competitors MasterCard (NYSE:MA) And American Express (NYSE:AXP).

IBM (IBM)

Photo of the IBM building (IBM) seen through the treetops. The IBM logo is displayed in large letters on the side of the building.

Source: shutterstock.com/LCV

One of the more boring and uninspiring ideas for blue-chip stocks, the traditional technology giant IBM (NYSE:IBM) still deserves some attention. Certainly, the company has been overshadowed by its younger competitors. But “Big Blue” is no slouch. It still offers tremendous expertise in artificial intelligence, deep learning, cybersecurity and even blockchain. There may be underappreciated value here.

Additionally, IBM stock seems to have stabilized after a volatile period in late April. This could be good news, especially given the passive income it generates. Currently, the company offers a dividend yield of 3.93%. Additionally, IBM has posted an average earnings per share of $2.44 over the past four quarters. In terms of earnings surprise, this performance yielded an average of 4.9%.

Net income in the TTM period reached $8.15 billion, or earnings of $8.82 per share. Revenues amounted to $62.07 billion. For the 2024 fiscal year, analysts expect earnings per share of $9.94. That would mean growth of 3.3% year-on-year. The bottom line is that IBM could generate $63.03 billion, 1.9% more than last year.

Shell (SHEL)

Shell logo on a gas station in Iceland. SHEL share

Source: JuliusKielaitis / Shutterstock.com

One of the world’s largest players in the hydrocarbon sector, Sleeve (NYSE:SIGN) is one of the supermajors. These integrated oil and gas companies cover several segments of the energy value chain. The hydrocarbon sector, however, is a little tricky to understand. With prices falling, this dynamic means that global demand for fossil fuels is falling.

Part of the reason for this negative view lies in Ukraine. Its military forces have begun attacking Russia’s oil refineries. In return, the Russians have to sell their crude oil at deep discounts to make up for the loss of revenue from their refined products. This might not be good for SHEL stock. However, geopolitical dynamics can always change unpredictably.

One area to watch is the Middle East. While tensions have cooled, the situation in the region could flare up again. If that were to happen, global oil supplies could be at risk, which could be cynically positive for SHEL.

Specifically, analysts expect revenues of $346.79 billion for fiscal 2024, which represents a 9.5% year-over-year increase. Moreover, the highest target is $443.5 billion, which is a huge increase. Keep an eye on this space as SHEL could be one of the best blue-chip stocks.

On the day of release, Josh Enomoto had (neither directly nor indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are subject to InvestorPlace.com policies. Publishing guidelines.

Josh Enomoto, a former senior economic analyst at Sony Electronics, has helped broker major deals with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past few years, he has provided unique, critical insights to the investment markets as well as various other industries such as legal, construction management, and healthcare. Tweet him at @EnomotoMedia.

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