With conservative, low-beta sectors such as consumer staples driving the market higher in the first quarter, it is not surprising that select food stocks are getting in on the act, being among favorite stocks to buy in Q1.
Prized for their consistent, predictable earnings and in many cases, steadily rising dividends, food stocks usually viewed as boring by investors were first-quarter leaders.
For example, General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) surged 19.3% in the first quarter. The maker of Cheerios, and other highly recognizable brands announced a 15% dividend increase in March. Rivals ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) and Kraft Foods Group Inc. (Nasdaq: KRFT) are up 19% and 12.6%, respectively.
But investors who want the reliability of food stocks but are in search of more growth should look past these big-name favorites.
There is another group of stocks delivering huge gains in the industry, and that's health food stocks.