Salesforce (CRM)

Salesforce is a cloud-based software giant. More than 150,000 companies use its customer relationship management platform to scale their business.

Cloud computing is a booming industry, and Salesforce’s numbers completely reflect that.

In the three months ended Apr. 30, revenue surged 24% year over year to $7.4 billion. Management expects full-year fiscal 2023 revenue of $31.7 billion to $31.8 billion, which would translate into a year-over-year increase of 20%.

But the stock is down a staggering 31% in 2022, giving contrarian investors something to think about.

Cramer says investors should consider buying Salesforce shares before the company hosts its Dreamforce conference in September.

Last month, Stifel analyst J. Parker Lane reiterated a Buy rating on Salesforce. While the analyst lowered his price target from $300 to $250, the new target still implies a potential upside of 43%.

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Merck (MRK)

Healthcare is a classic example of a defensive sector thanks to its lack of correlation with the ups and downs of the economy.

Cramer likes pharmaceutical giant Merck because it is recession-resistant and offers generous dividends.

Paying 69 cents per share on a quarterly basis, the stock yields just under 3%.

The business is growing, too. In Q1, Merck’s worldwide sales from continuing operations totaled $15.9 billion, up 50% year over year.

While the broad market is deep in the red in 2022, Merck shares are up an impressive 21% year to date.

Mizuho analyst Mara Goldstein sees more upside on the horizon. The analyst has a Buy rating on Merck and a price target of $100 — around 8% above the current levels.

Coca-Cola (KO)

Cramer is optimistic about Coca-Cola, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

After the company’s Q1 earnings report in April, Cramer said that it showed “how a seasoned management team can overcome just about any challenge you might throw at them” and that it has “long-lasting strength.”

When it comes to delivering returns to investors through thick and thin, few companies have done a better job than Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola went public more than 100 years ago. This February, the board approved the company’s 60th consecutive annual dividend increase.

It’s not hard to see why the payout has been so reliable: The company’s iconic products are sold in more than 200 countries and territories, and even in a recession, a simple can of Coke is still affordable to most people.

The stock is also defying the ongoing market sell-off, gaining 6% year-to-date.

Wells Fargo analyst Chris Carey has an Overweight rating on Coca-Cola and a price target of $74 — 17% above where the stock sits today.

Fine art as an investment

Stocks can be volatile, cryptos make big swings to either side, and even gold is not immune to the market’s ups and downs.

That’s why if you are looking for the ultimate hedge, it could be worthwhile to check out a real, but overlooked asset: fine art.

Contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.

And it’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market.

On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12 during the past 25 years.

Earlier this year, Bank of America investment chief Michael Harnett singled out artwork as a sharp way to outperform over the next decade — due largely to the asset’s track record as an inflation hedge.

Investing in art by the likes of Banksy and Andy Warhol used to be an option only for the ultrarich. But with a new investing platform, you can invest in iconic artworks just like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates do.

About the Author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. Prior to joining the team, he was a research analyst and editor at one of the leading financial publishing companies in North America. An avid advocate of investing for passive income, he wrote a monthly dividend stock newsletter for the better half of the past decade. Jing holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree, both from the University of Toronto.

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