These Least Volatile Stocks Of 2020 May Be Attractive to More Cautious Investors

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Dec. 30 2020, Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

In the four weeks ending Mar. 11, 2020, the DJIA dropped 8,000 points, making it the fastest crash in the history of the stock market—and the most crippling one since 1929. Widespread volatility ensued, and while the stock market has largely made up for lost ground, many companies are still trying to recover. 

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These stocks are some of the least volatile of the year, proving their reliability amidst the chaos. 

Procter & Gamble has seen low volatility in 2020

Year to date, Procter & Gamble ("PG" on the NYSE) has seen a 12.71 percent gain. Despite a soft fall in March, the consumer staples company managed to swing back to its pre-pandemic heights in a relatively condensed period of time. Fluctuations have been minimal in the latter quarters of the year. Over the long-term, investors could find this stock to be a promising addition to the portfolio.

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Extra Space Storage brings REITs to the limelight this year

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) have historically kept portfolios in check during times of crisis, and this year is no different. One such REIT includes Extra Space Storage ("EXR" on the NYSE). From February to March, the stock only dropped off by 2.9 percent. A year-to-date growth of 9.4 percent combined with a 3.15 percent dividend yield makes this company one worth dabbling in for many investors.

Clorox upswings, but its historic low volatility remains reliable

Once the pandemic paved its way, any disinfectant company was bound to succeed. However, Clorox ("CLX" on the NYSE) has been holding steady for years, and it's not likely to fall totally off the radar once the health crisis falls to the wayside. In the four years ending Jan. 2020, Clorox had earned 21.79 percent of growth. The stock has gained another 32 percent year to date.

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Cerner proves tech doesn't have to be volatile

With a year-to-date boost of 6.745 percent, Cerner ("CERN" on the Nasdaq Exchange) has maintained a relative upward stability that has been in place since 2013. The company's stock grew more rapidly in the years prior. Cerner focuses on information technology for electronic health records, making its role during COVID-19 a critical one.

Consider the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index

If you're looking for a diversified array of low-volatility stocks, there's one ETF that heeds the call. The S&P 500 Low Volatility Index comprises 100 constituents with a median market capitalization of $37,832.55. It even prioritizes environmental, social, and governance (ESG) characteristics, highlighting carbon intensity, fossil fuel reserve emissions, and more.

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Investors can follow the index via ETFs like Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF (SPLV). Returns will likely be below the market average but risk is lower, which suits those with a low tolerance or time horizon.

Other baskets include the Fidelity Low Volatility Factor ETF (FDLO) with a 9.44 percent YTD gain and iShares MSCI Minimum Volatility ETF (USMV) which is 2.77 percent in the green this year.

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