Consumer staples stocks represent companies manufacturing common household products seen as essential for everyday use. This category of product includes home goods, food, beverages, hygiene products, and other items that individuals are either unwilling or unable to eliminate from their budgets, even in times of financial trouble. Because of this, consumer staples and the companies that produce them are seen as non-cyclical and able to maintain stable growth regardless of the state of the economy. Consumer staples stocks include companies like B&G Foods Inc. (BGS) and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG). In the trailing 12-month period, consumer staples stocks as represented by the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) have trailed the S&P 500, returning 13.3% as compared with 18.1% for the S&P. All figures in this story are as of November 20, 2019.

We'll take a look at the top 3 consumer staples stocks for December with the best value, the fastest earnings growth, and the most momentum.

Consumer Staples Stocks with the Best Value

Here are the consumer staples stocks in the S&P 500 with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Consumer Staples Stocks with the Best Value
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E
The Kroger Co. (KR) 26.87 21.5 13.2
PepsiCo Inc. ( PEP) 134.57 187.7 15.3
Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) 90.54 33.1 16.4
Source: YCharts
  • Kroger Co.: One of the largest retail companies in the world, Kroger operates supermarkets and department stores in dozens of states across the Midwest and the southern U.S. As pressure from online retailers like Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) grows, Kroger has shifted its focus toward online and delivery sales. Part of the transformation of Kroger as a company includes a recent change in its logo and branding.
  • PepsiCo Inc.: Perhaps best known for its iconic Pepsi soft drink, PepsiCo manufactures, distributes, and markets a variety of beverages and foods globally. In November, PepsiCo announced that it will become the preferred beverage partner of leading cruise company Carnival Cruise Line in January 2020.
  • Tyson Foods Inc.: Tyson Foods is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of chicken, beef, and pork products. Among its many brands are popular names like Sara Lee, Ball Park, and Jimmy Dean. To keep up with changing consumer trends, Tyson announced in June a commitment to explore the production of plant-based and blended food products.

Consumer Staples Stocks with the Fastest Earnings Growth

Here are the consumer staples stocks in the S&P 500 with the highest year-over-year (YOY) earnings-per-share (EPS) growth for the most recent quarter. Rising earnings show that a company’s business is growing and is generating more money that it needs to reinvest or return to shareholders.

Consumer Staples Stocks with the Fastest Earnings Growth
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%)
Walmart Inc. ( WMT) 119.89 341.0 98.3
Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB) 132.94 132.9 50.4
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) 53.08 227.4 36.4
Source: YChart
  • Walmart Inc.: Walmart is a major retail company operating a variety of supercenters, discount stores, and other markets. These stores sell merchandise ranging from home goods and appliances to apparel, jewelry, pharmaceuticals, automotive equipment, and more. In its most recent quarter, Walmart reported a 41% gain in U.S. e-commerce sales YOY.
  • Kimberly-Clark Corp.: Kimberly-Clark is a health and hygiene company manufacturing primarily paper-based consumer products. It produces diapers, paper towels, surgical gowns, tissues, and other related consumer staples. In its Q3 2019 report, Kimberly-Clark outperformed estimates for earnings per share on an adjusted basis and saw a small increase in net sales.
  • Coca-Cola Co.: One of the best-known global brands, Coca-Cola is the maker and retailer of a large line of nonalcoholic beverages based on syrups and concentrates. In October, the company announced an upcoming launch of a new brand of energy drinks.

Consumer Staples Stocks with the Most Momentum

These are the consumer staples stocks in the S&P 500 that had the greatest total return over the past 12 months.

Consumer Staples Stocks with the Most Momentum
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) 90.54 33.1 55.7
Target Corp. ( TGT) 110.85 56.6 48.4
Dollar General Corp. (DG) 158.43 40.7 44.7
S&P 500 (SPY) -- -- 18.1
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) -- -- 13.3
Source: YCharts
  • Tyson Foods Inc.: See company description above.
  • Target Corp.: Target operates a chain of discount general merchandise retail stores. This company sells a large variety of consumer staples ranging from food and beverage to home goods, apparel, electronics, and more. Target also offers proprietary credit cards to qualified applicants. In Q3, Target's comparable sales grew 4.5% YOY.
  • Dollar General Corp.: While many of the companies on this list manufacture consumer staples, Dollar General focuses on selling them. This retailer operates around 15,000 variety stores across the United States. Dollar General has proven surprisingly resilient in the face of Amazon.com's online retail onslaught. Its success has been fueled by low prices, strategic store locations, and regular rotation of products within its stores to keep consumers interested.