Recently, a client asked me the difference between consumer staple and consumer discretionary stocks. I told them a consumer staple company makes those products and services you have to buy, and consumer discretionary ones make that which you want to buy. The examples I gave of each were Proctor & Gamble and General Motors respectively.
They told me they hated the car industry as an investment, and gave me a laundry list of the usual reasons: too much competition chasing too little potential for growth; the inevitability of another crude oil shock, and the capital intensive nature of the business. While these are all very valid, I told him my concerns were more structural than that.
We have plenty of elbow room in Alabama. Our population density per square mile is 23rd out of the 26 states east of the Mississippi River. This means we have a longer way to haul stuff than the good folks do in, say, New Jersey. Put another way, most of us actually have to get in the car to go to the grocery store. (Read the full article as previously published in the Montgomery Advertiser on April 10th, 2017)