The 3 Smartest Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy With $500 Right Now

Stocks to buy

The combination of stability and reliability that blue-chip stocks offer makes them one of the best ways to play in the current environment.

With uncertainty over the economy still ruling the market, choosing blue-chip stocks to buy makes sense. They are successful, profitable companies with a long history of growth through all business cycles. Even during corrections and market crashes, they tend to perform well. Also, when their stocks are down, their dividend payments juice returns that allow them to outperform the broad market indexes.

The three blue-chip stocks to buy below represent the best tendencies of the class. Not only do they reward investors for buying their stocks, but reinvest their profits into their businesses to set the stage for future growth.

Although these blue chips currently lag the S&P 500, they are positioned to generate outsized performance in future years. So if you have only $500 to put to work, these are stocks to buy today.

Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy: British American Tobacco (BTI)

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Global tobacco giant British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI) is the first blue-chip to buy on the list. It owns the leading Newport cigarette brand threatened by the Food & Drug Administration’s proposed ban on menthol flavoring. However, the agency received significant pushback from smokers, particularly in the black community, who are the predominant menthol smokers.

According to a study using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 1999-2018, 73.0% of Black adults who smoke use menthol cigarettes, a significantly higher percentage than other racial/ethnic groups. For comparison, 21.5% of non-Hispanic White adults who smoke use menthol cigarettes.

In a presidential election year, it was too risky to push a ban and potentially alienate a large bloc of voters.

More importantly, the FDA just approved the first two menthol electronic cigarettes for sale. Although it was for rival Altria’s (NYSE:MO) NJOY brand that got marketing approval, British American will likely prevail with its own Vuse brand’s menthol application. The agency denied BTI’s submission last year, but that was before it became an electoral imperative. The tobacco stock was already challenging the denial as “capricious” and it should ultimately succeed.

Vuse is the largest e-cig on the market with a 41.1% share, while Juul Labs is second with 24%. NJOY has just a 3.4% share as Altria tries to expand the brand’s reach following its acquisition last year.

British American Tobacco stock is up 10% year-to-date but off 3% for the year. With a lucrative dividend that yields 9.4% annually, expect the tobacco stock to smoke the market in years to come.

Clorox (CLX)

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Best known for its bleach, Clorox (NYSE:CLX) also owns a portfolio of well-known consumer products, including Glad storage bags, Kingsford and Match Light charcoal, and Tilex cleaning solution. They tend to be the leading brands in their respective niches. Clorox says it generates 80% of its $7.2 billion in annual net sales from brands holding the No. 1 or No. 2 market share position.

The impact of inflation has hurt Clorox, though, with shares down 6% in 2024 and 14% over the past 12 months.  The bleach maker previously said average supply chain inflation typically runs at about $75 million, but it skyrocketed to $800 million during the pandemic. It has been marching lower since. It was $400 million in 2021, fell to $200 million in 2022, and remains at that level today.

Since the Consumer Price Index has eased back from its 40-year high, Clorox was able to implement new supply chain optimization controls. Wall Street sees growth in its future. The consensus one-year price target is $145 per share, just 9% above its current level. Yet the Federal Reserve expects inflation to moderate further, which should allow it to reduce interest rates. With lower rates, Clorox inputs will improve, boosting its bottom line.

As this Dividend King sports a payout with a starting yield of 3.5% annually, investors will also get a boost in total returns.

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMUY)

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The world’s biggest luxury goods retailer is the third blue-chip stock to buy. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (OTCMKTS:LVMUY) owns some of the most prestigious, well-known luxury brands on the planet. Although selling to the well-heeled typically shields a retailer from the worst effects of inflation or market downturns, uncertainty over the U.S. economy and a slowdown in China is weighing on its stock.

LVMH’s shares are down 5% this year and 15% over the past year. It is a time when smart companies invest in the future, and the upscale retailer is doing just that. It just announced it acquired Spiza, the parent of ultra-exclusive Swiss watchmaker L’Epée 1839. Its famous Time Machine watch sells for $30,000.

LVMH’s CEO Bernard Arnault also just acquired a stake in high-end rival Richemont (OTCMKTS:CFRUY), the owner of watch brands such as Cartier and Piaget. It is a personal stake at the moment, but LVMH might eventually make a takeover move. Other watchmakers analysts believe it may wish to acquire include Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, according to Bloomberg.

Many might not think of the luxury blue-chip stock as much of a dividend stock, but it has an impressive 13% compounded annual growth rate of its payout over the last 10 years that offers an enticing starting yield of 2.8% annually.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey held a LONG position in MO, CLX and LVMUY stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Rich Duprey has written about stocks and investing for the past 20 years. His articles have appeared on Nasdaq.com, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance, and he has been referenced by U.S. and international publications, including MarketWatch, Financial Times, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cheddar News, The Boston Globe, L’Express, and numerous other news outlets.

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