There's still a lot of uncertainty about what's ahead for the economy. The significant increase in interest rates is starting to affect the real estate and banking sectors, which could eventually spill over into the broader economy. And companies with businesses sensitive to economic growth could start feeling the pinch this year.
However, some business models are relatively immune to the economic cycle. Because of that, these businesses should generate fairly steady growth and profitability even if there's a downturn. Three companies poised for solid years amid the uncertainty are Brookfield Infrastructure (NYSE: BIP)(NYSE: BIPC), Prologis (NYSE: PLD), and NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE). That makes them stand out as some of the top stocks to buy this month.
Set up for a strong year
Brookfield Infrastructure operates a globally diversified portfolio of infrastructure businesses across the utilities, transport, energy midstream, and data sectors. Roughly 90% of its earnings come from stable revenue sources like long-term, fixed-rate contracts or government-regulated rate structures. Meanwhile, 70% of its cash flow has no volume or price exposure, and 80% benefits from inflation. Brookfield is thus in an ideal position for the current market environment.
The company expects elevated inflation, upcoming expansion project completions, and recent acquisitions to help drive more than 10% growth in its funds from operations (FFO) per share this year. Meanwhile, it's in an excellent position to continue growing at a strong pace in the future, thanks to its inflation-driven upside, expansion projects, and capital recycling strategy. The company already has several deals in the pipeline to help drive future growth.
Another benefit of Brookfield's stable earnings profile is it enables the company to pay an attractive and growing dividend. It increased its payout by 6% earlier this year and now yields 4.6%. Brookfield believes it can grow its distribution at a 5% to 9% annual rate. That combination of income and growth should enable the infrastructure giant to produce compelling total returns over the long term.
Built-in rental growth
Prologis owns a large-scale portfolio of logistics real estate. The industrial REIT leases its properties to credit-worthy tenants under long-term leases. Those leases supply the company with very stable rental income.
However, one downside of that stability is that Prologis isn't fully capturing the surge in rental rates over the past few years:
The company expects its net operating income (NOI) to grow at an 8% to 10% annual rate over the next several years as legacy leases expire and it signs new leases at market rents.
For 2023, Prologis anticipates NOI increasing by 8.5% to 9.5%. In addition, the company will benefit from last year's $26 billion acquisition of leading rival Duke Realty and the development projects it has underway. These factors should drive 9.5% growth in its core FFO per share this year at the mid-point of its guidance range. That's a strong growth rate for a company with a moderate recession in its 2023 forecast. It gave the REIT the confidence to increase its dividend by another 10%, pushing the yield to 2.9%.
NextEra Energy is a leading utility and clean energy infrastructure company. Its Florida electric utility generates steady earnings backed by government-regulated rate structures. Meanwhile, its energy resources segment produces stable cash flow from long-term, fixed-price power purchase agreements supporting its extensive renewable energy portfolio.
NextEra Energy is investing billions of dollars in expanding its utility and renewable energy operations. Those investments give it a lot of visibility into future growth. The company expects its adjusted earnings per share to grow by about 5% this year at the mid-point of its guidance range. Meanwhile, it sees earnings expanding by as much as a 9.4% compound annual rate through 2026 from 2021's baseline at the high end of its long-term forecast. That outlook supports the company's plan to increase its dividend by around 10% annually through at least next year.
Recession worries abound these days. While that concerns more economically sensitive companies, others are relatively immune to a recession. Brookfield Infrastructure, Prologis, and NextEra Energy are three names that expect to continue growing at a healthy clip this year. Add in their dividends, and they have the power to potentially outperform in the current environment. That makes them stand out as some of the top stocks to buy in April.
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Matthew DiLallo has positions in Brookfield Infrastructure, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, NextEra Energy, and Prologis. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends NextEra Energy and Prologis. The Motley Fool recommends Brookfield Infrastructure Partners. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.