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No one wants to lose money to be sure, but burying it in a coffee can does not insulate it from the ravages of inflation. The only option available to preserve and grow wealth is to invest it. While there is a universe of investment options out there (some really out there), my passion is the equities market.

Stock! What a world of diversity! Do you like real estate? Invest in REITs. Like gold? Invest in gold stocks. Art or antiques your passion? Buy stock in Sotheby’s (NYSE:BID). For me, it’s all about stock. That said, I’ve ferreted out 5 stocks I believe will, at best, grow your wealth and, at worst, preserve it against inflation.

I selected U.S. large caps that pay a dividend and have an average daily trading volume in excess of 1 million shares. In terms of fundamentals, I screened for price/earnings, past 5 year sales growth, insider transactions, current ratio, institutional ownership, price/book and return on assets. The screen resulted in 7 stocks, and, to avoid duplicity of sectors, I reduced that number to the 5 companies we will analyze here today. These are the key inflation-proof stocks to buy now.

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE:ADM), in the consumer goods sector, is trading at about $27.90 per share. The company has a market cap of $18.64 billion. The price/earnings ratio of 8.55 and price/earnings growth ratio of 1.11 suggests this stock is very much undervalued. Add in a price to book of 1.01 and a return on equity of 12.65% and this one is beginning to look like a keeper.

Drilling down further, we find the debt/equity ratio is 51.59 and the current ratio is a cushy 1.88%. The stock also offers a dividend yield of 2.40% supported by a dividend pay out ratio of 19.00%. Right now the stock is trading at about 118% of its 52-week low. As a result of this analysis, I believe this stock to be an excellent addition to the risk-averse portfolio, offering ample growth opportunities plus a good inflation hedge vis-à-vis the dividend.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), in the technology sector, is trading at about $22.73 per share. The company has a market cap of $115.74 billion. Again, the price/earnings ratio of 9.84 and price/earnings growth ratio of 0.83 point to this stock being undervalued. Factor in a price to book of 2.52 and you have the ingredients of a value stock. The return on equity of 16.11%, debt/equity ratio of 15.76 and the current ratio of 2.24% are all indicators of quality management and financial strength.

The stock also offers a dividend yield of 3.40%, supported by a dividend pay out ratio of 32.00%. The stock is trading at about 119% of its 52-week low. The analysis demonstrates this stock to be an excellent addition to the risk-averse portfolio, offering not only growth opportunities but a bulwark against inflation. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a bargain as well.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), in the healthcare sector, is trading at about $61.27 per share. The company has a market cap of $167.32 billion. The price/earnings ratio of 14.94 and price/earnings growth ratio of 2.05, while not as attractive as ADM and INTC, still indicate positive growth potential. Trading at 107% of the 52-week low suggests the timing is right to make this acquisition. The price to book of 2.73 and return on equity of 19.18% is quite good. I am very impressed with the debt/equity ratio of 28.94 and the current ratio of 2.46%.

The company is in a good place in terms of cash, a position that has increased steadily since the quarter ending December, 2008. The stock also offers a dividend yield of 3.70% supported by a dividend pay out ratio of 54.00%. The analysis supports this stock to be an excellent addition to the risk-averse portfolio, offering growth potential and a robust dividend yield to beat back inflation.

Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE), in the basic materials sector, is trading at about $35.57 per share. The company has a market cap of $11.27 billion. The price/earnings ratio of 18.00 is close to my upper limit of acceptability but the price/earnings growth ratio of 0.37 suggests this stock has substantial potential for growth. Acquiring this stock now, when it is priced at just 119% of its 52 week low makes sense. The price to book of 1.51 is undeniably attractive, and while the return on equity of 9.42% may seem weak, it is actually middle ground in the iron and steel industry.

As we progress to the debt/equity ratio of 55.84 and the current ratio of 2.92%, a picture of financial strength emerges. The stock also offers a robust dividend yield of 4.10%, supported by a dividend pay out ratio of 74.00%. The analysis reveals this stock to be an excellent addition to the risk-averse portfolio. Not only does it provide an antidote to inflation, it has the potential to explode in value if we ever get around to repairing the nation’s infrastructure.

Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG), in the services sector, is trading at about $32.47 per share. The company has a market cap of $28.54 billion. The price/earnings ratio of 11.04 and price/earnings growth ratio of 1.22 and a price to book of 1.92 combine to suggest this stock is greatly undervalued. The return on equity of 18.56%, debt/equity ratio of 16.23 and current ratio of 1.52%, demonstrate competent management and financial strength.

The stock also offers a dividend yield of 2.50%, supported by a dividend pay out ratio of 26.00%. The analysis defines this stock as a worthy addition to the risk-averse portfolio. Selling at 107% of its 52-week low means the timing is ideal for taking advantage of this growth opportunity and inflation hedge.

Archer-Daniels, Intel, and Johnson & Johnson are players on the global stage, and that’s a plus for revenue opportunities. Nucor is international, a plus also. Walgreen, although a slave to the domestic market, stands ready to reap the rewards inherent in an aging U.S. population.

Source: 5 Dividend Stocks To Shield Your Portfolio From Inflation