Stocks to buy

3 Must-Buy Dow Stocks for Your April Buy List

The Dow is short for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a stock index that tracks the largest highly-traded public companies. It is one of the most watched indicators of overall stock market direction and includes 30 of the largest publicly traded firms. Thus, Dow stocks tend to get their fair share of attention from investors, due to their size and importance to the economy.

The Dow represents the most significant industrial components of the U.S. economy. Thus, this index is often viewed as a way to measure the overall economic health of the U.S. So, one way to think of investing in Dow stocks, is that investors are making a bet that a particular industry is set to expand.

With that in mind, let’s look at 3 Dow stocks to consider this month.

AXP American Express $162.56
MCD McDonald’s $282.28
AMGN Amgen $247.53

American Express (AXP)

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American Express (NYSE:AXP) is precisely the kind of stock investors should consider at any time, especially now. The economy is turbulent. Therefore, any firm that can thrive in such conditions deserves particular attention. And that’s exactly what American Express is doing.

Indeed, 2022 was an excellent year for the credit card firm that serves a more affluent customer base. Revenues grew by 25%, reaching $52.86 billion. This came as processing volume rose 21%. Yes, net income and earnings per share declined overall in 2022. However, due to volatility, American Express had to increase its provisions for credit losses. That explains the modest declines in those areas.

The company also increased its customer base by a record 12.5 million accounts in the year. Additionally, the company is expecting 15-17% revenue growth in 2023, anticipating that earnings will exceed 2021 levels. Company leadership is confident that American Express’s excellent customer base and non-banking business insulate it from broader economic headwinds.

McDonald’s (MCD)

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There’s plenty of reason to believe McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) stock is a strong bet throughout 2023. Last year was a strong year for the fast-food giant. Sales increased 10% for the year on a year-over-year basis. And momentum continues to be strong, with fourth-quarter sales increasing by 12%.

One way to understand why McDonald’s has thrived lately is to understand its strategy. That strategy is referred to as Accelerating the Arches, at the corporate level. It relies on core products centered around burgers, coffee, and chicken. If you’ve been to a McDonald’s in the last year, you’ve likely recognized the pared-down menu.

One of the most important and highly-relevant aspects of McDonald’s strategy is its marketing focus on affordability. Prices of almost everything have increased, but McDonald’s remains one of the cheaper fast food options. It’s reasonable to assume that McDonald’s will continue to see strong demand as we head toward Q3 and Q4.

That’s because economists increasingly suggest that a recession is more likely to hit, as credit risk piles up. In that scenario, affordability becomes even more paramount, making McDonald’s more appealing.

Amgen (AMGN)

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Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) is a leading pharmaceutical stock. As such, it relies on a vast portfolio of drugs to provide continued revenue growth over the long-term. Thus far, that cycle has continued indefinitely, so pharmaceutical companies with blockbuster drugs at peak sales tend to perform best.

Amgen is in a transitional period in which its best-seller, Enbrel, is slipping. Meanwhile, its up-and-coming drugs must pick up the slack. Fortunately, that’s what is occurring – Prolia is on track to become a blockbuster drug, as Enbrel risks losing that status.

Prolia is an osteoporosis drug that accounted for $992 million in sales in 2022. That brings it close to the $1 billion annual sales threshold used to determine blockbuster medicines. Meanwhile, Enbrel accounted for $1.098 billion in 2022 sales, down 1% year-over-year.

Amgen’s vast revenues increased by 1% in 2022. That’s not great. But what is encouraging is that Prolia sales increased by 14% in 2022, and lessened the blow from declining sales from drugs such as Enbrel. Further, although Amgen’s sales only grew by 1% in 2022, its earnings per share rose by 18%. That means Amgen was able to reward investors, even as its business was flat.

On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Alex Sirois is a freelance contributor to InvestorPlace whose personal stock investing style is focused on long-term, buy-and-hold, wealth-building stock picks.Having worked in several industries from e-commerce to translation to education and utilizing his MBA from George Washington University, he brings a diverse set of skills through which he filters his writing.

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