Seeking Safety in U.S. Stocks? Forget Consumer Staples: Chart

Food, beverage and tobacco companies and makers of other consumer staples are too costly to purchase as “safety stocks,” Jonathan Glionna, head of U.S. equity strategy at Barclays Plc, wrote Thursday in a report. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Consumer Staples Index started this month at 22 times projected earnings, the highest ratio since at least the 1980s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yesterday’s reading of 21.4 ranked second among the S&P 500’s 10 main industry groups behind energy, whose ratio soared as lower oil prices led to losses.

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