Credit Suisse is recommending stocks with a characteristic favored by Warren Buffett for investors navigating growing risk in equity markets. The firm expects companies with “economic moats” could help investors shield their portfolios from increasing economic uncertainty. It’s a term popularized by the legendary investor that refers to a company’s ability to maintain competitive advantages against its peers, such as a better business model or scale. “The most important thing [is] trying to find a business with a wide and long-lasting moat around it … protecting a terrific economic castle with an honest lord in charge of the castle,” Buffett said at a 1995 meeting, according to CNBC’s Warren Buffett Archive. Credit Suisse identified bottom-up opportunities in companies that have high barriers to entry, just as macro risks rise. The firm’s strategists pointed to aggressive action against inflation by central banks around the globe, as well as growing risks to 2023 earnings estimates, and recommended investors underweight equities. “Our economists do not rule out a recession and anticipate the US GDP growth to be 0.9% in 2023, compared to -0.2% in the Eurozone,” analyst Richard Kersley wrote in a Thursday note. Still, there are opportunities in businesses with protective moats, that have “a superior ability to innovate” with strong pricing power. Here are the names. Shares of Air Products & Chemicals can surge more than 20% from here as the company has “among the most resilient business models,” as it’s difficult to transport gases over long distances, according to Credit Suisse. The firm has a $295 price target on the company, and shares closed Wednesday at $241.46. Hershey was approved by the firm as it “is poised for an above-algorithm growth year (5%) in 2022” because of its leading market share in confectionary, according to the note. Credit Suisse has a $250 price target on the company, implying 11.9% upside from Wednesday’s closing price of $223.41 per share. “Market share gains are likely to persist through 2022 and probably beyond as retailers have awarded the company more shelf space,” read the note. McDonald’s is “well positioned” to perform regardless of the macro backdrop because of its leading value proposition, according to Credit Suisse. The fast food company is also recovering in overseas markets, read the note. Other companies with protective moats in the Americas include Microsoft , Nextera and Autodesk . —CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
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