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Tickers in this Article: PG, PM, HNJ, SPY, KXI
In these days of significant economic worry, you're likely in good 'company' if you're staying home for meals, avoiding the shopping mall and concentrating on just saving your wealth. Consumer confidence numbers for August were up over July, but most of those surveyed didn't believe the economy was yet on the mend.

That said, where's one to put his money? Given the current economic picture, the safest equities may be in the consumer staples sector. These are the companies that produce items that consumers invariably spend on through good times and bad: soap, basic food items and diapers. They're also the stocks that don't experience the same whipsaw price action that one sees in, for example, the basic materials sector.

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They are also, generally speaking, companies that pay out handsomely from earnings. Dividend yields for the group tend to be among the highest in the market. And those that have global brands are likely a safer bet, as they provide some insulation against a retrenching U.S. populace.

Here are three such companies, complete with vital statistics.

No Gamble with Toilet Paper
The Proctor & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) trades with a P/E of 17 and offers investors an annual 3.2% dividend yield. In the last year, the stock is up 12%, which compares favorably with the S&P 500, as represented by the widely-held SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY), which gained only 8% in the same time period. Against the iShares Global S&P Consumer Staple ETF (NYSE:KXI) - a proxy for the sector - Proctor and Gamble also comes out ahead. The ETF produced a gain of 11% in the last 12 months.

Proctor & Gamble has a market cap of $171 billion, and is focused on supplying beauty, health care and household staples to consumers in 180 countries worldwide.

Smoke and Grub
Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) pays an annual 4.3% dividend and trades with a P/E of 14.5. The company is essentially a manufacturer and global marketer of cigarettes, the most popular brands of which are Marlboro and Parliament. In the last year, PM stock rose 14%.

H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) makes and sells a variety of food products to consumers globally. In the last year, the stock has risen by an impressive 18% and still offers an annual yield of 3.9%. The stock trades at a multiple of 15.8-times last year's earnings.

The Bottom Line
One of the best places to ride out economic uncertainty is in the consumer staples group. The above three issues offer solid yields and the stability that comes from a successfully run global franchise. (To learn more, see our Guide To Investing In Consumer Staples.)

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