The outlook for the world economy is getting gloomier. Two-thirds (67%) of private and public sector chief economists surveyed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently said they expect a global recession in 2023. While the stocks of companies that sell essential products, such as healthcare, utilities and groceries, would likely hold up well during a recession, the stocks of companies involved in discretionary pursuits, i.e. travel, dining out and entertainment, often get brutalized during economic downturns as consumers are forced to reduce their spending on such items. A growing wave of layoffs are likely to force people to count their pennies even more closely. Here are three stocks to sell ASAP following the World Economic Forum’s recession prediction for 2023.
Six Flags (SIX)
Amusement parks are viewed as a luxury at the best of times. Riding a rollercoaster, while fun, is hardly necessary. For this reason, the stock of Six Flags Entertainment (NYSE:SIX) is likely not one you want in your portfolio if the economy tanks. The Texas-based company runs nearly 30 amusement and water parks in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The company’s business has struggled since the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 forced its parks to close for lengthy periods or operate at reduced capacity. A recession in 2023 would just be the latest blow to a stock that has declined 60% in the last five years.
In the past year alone, SIX stock has dropped 32%. To keep up with inflation, the company was forced to raise its prices in 2022. That resulted in a 25% year-over-year decline in park attendance during the first nine months of last year.
Its total revenue dropped 9% and its net income fell 23% in the same time period. A recession would further hurt park attendance and profits, making Six Flags Entertainment a stock to sell ASAP.
Darden Restaurants (DRI)
People will still dine out during a recession, but they’ll look for cheaper alternatives. The dollar menu at McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) can become very popular when times are tough. That would be bad news for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), which runs popular dine-in chains such as Olive Garden and the Longhorn Steakhouse. These full-service restaurants have difficulty competing against their fast food competitors and drive-thru counters during lean times.
A recession in 2023 would come at arguably the worst possible time for Darden Restaurants, whose more than 1,800 locations across the U.S. and Canada are still recovering from the pandemic.
Over the past 12 months, DRI stock has risen 8% after struggling mightily during 2020 and 2021 when its restaurants were largely closed. In the company’s fiscal second quarter which ended in November, its total sales increased 9.4% versus the same period a year earlier to $2.5 billion i. A recession this year would be a gut punch to the company and its shareholders.
Credit card giant Mastercard (NYSE:MA) is typically a great stock to own. The New York-based company’s share price has gained 120% over the last five years and it has risen 9% in the last 12 months .
However, during an economic recession, Mastercard and other major credit card issuers are likely to take it on the chin. That is because their top and bottom lines will plunge as consumers stop using credit cards for discretionary spending such as booking hotels and paying for air fares, entertainment and dining out. And consumers are less likely to use their credit cards to pay for essential items such as their mortgage and home-heating bills.
Mastercard, whose network encompasses more than 3 billion credit cards issued worldwide, performed very well over the last year as the global economy emerged from the pandemic. Specifically, the company’s net revenue rose 20% and its net income grew 17% during the first nine months of 2022, compared with the same period a year earlier.
And Mastercard’s operating margin of 55% remains exceptionally strong. However, the company struggled during the early months of the pandemic when its share price fell nearly 40%. It could have problems again if we enter a recession that is deeper and more prolonged than expected.
That makes Mastercard a stock to sell ASAP following the World Economic Forum’s recession prediction for 2023.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.