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Ford, HP And More: Investing Ideas If Interest Rates Rise

Tickers in this article: F GM HPQ SWY

Chris Lau, Kapitall: The Fed can't keep interest rates at 0% forever. Here are some investing ideas for when tapering begins.

Barrons has posited (paywall) what investors should do when bond yields start to rise. When economic times are hard, companies are forced to adapt. This means cutting costs, paying down debt, and finding new ways to keep their customers. Companies that do a good job of doing this during hard times are often doubly rewarded when the pendulum swings, times are good, and interest rates start to go back up. 

Read more from Kapitall: US Auto Stocks See Rising Inventories as Tesla Gets a Reprieve

As a result, many economists are seeing the impending tapering as an opportunity to serach for turn-around stocks. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Safeway (SWY) have been mentioned as companies to consider when rates rise, but investors should first take a step back from stock picking.

Fed to lead rate rise

An improving economy would mean corporations will need to work harder to generate higher returns on capital. But the economy is being flooded with quantitative easing worldwide.

The excess liquidity is creating negligible growth in world economies. At some point in time, the excess liquidity may create bubbles that could burst, like 3D printing and Bitcoin. The electronic currency rose to above $1000 recently, compared to the $10-20 range at the beginning of the year.

Investing ideas

HP and Safeway could benefit from higher yields, but shares in both companies are already up 97% and 98% in 2013, respectively. Any additional upside could be limited. Barrons also noted GM (GM), whose shares are up 32% this year.

And competitor Ford (F) is up by a similar amount, as strong management by Alan Mulally resulted in a more efficiently run company. And Ford also pays a dividend that yields 2.4%. The company generated respectable sales growth for Fusion and Focus in November 2013.

Sales for trucks also rose 15.5% compared to the previous year. So the strategy should be clear: investors should pick companies with strong fundamentals in addition to benefiting from rate increases. Ford is just one example, but there are many more to find.