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This Sector Continues Higher, and 7 Top 'Strong Buy' Stocks Also Pay Big Dividends

For investors, 2022 has been a very grim year. Both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are back in bear market territory. The stock market is poised for more trouble, with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noting that rates will rise to 4.4% by the end of this year and likely will have a final terminal rate of 4.6% in 2023. Many top analysts and strategists see downside in the venerable S&P 500 to 3,100. That would be another 20% decline from current trading levels.

There are always places for investors to seek shelter from the interest rate storm, and sectors like utilities and health care are often seen as safe havens. The sector that has seen the biggest moves recently is consumer staples: 12 of the top 20 gainers in the S&P 500 on Wednesday, when the Fed lifted rates another 75 basis points, were consumer staples leaders.

We screened our 24/7 Wall St. research database looking for the top consumer staples companies. The seven that hit our screens all pay big and dependable dividends, are rated Buy at top Wall Street firms and are likely among the best places to move to now.

It is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.

Conagra Brands

This is a solid stock for conservative investors looking for growth and income. Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG) operates as a food company in North America. Its brands include Marie Callender’s, Reddi-wip, Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Slim Jim, Orville Redenbacher’s, Alexia, Frontera, Banquet and Chef Boyardee.

The company’s Grocery & Snacks segment primarily offers shelf-stable food products in various retail channels in the United States. The Refrigerated & Frozen segment provides temperature-controlled food products in various retail channels in the United States. The International reporting segment offers food products in various temperature states in retail and foodservice channels outside of the United States.

The Foodservice segment offers food products, including meals, entrees, sauces and various custom-manufactured culinary products packaged for sale, to restaurants and other foodservice establishments in the United States.

Conagra Brands stock investors receive a dividend of 3.85%. Evercore ISI has a $40 target price. The lower consensus target is $36.03, and the stock closed trading on Thursday at $34.76.

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