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3 core stocks for October

Whilst September and October are normally the two worst performing months for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO), September took many by surprise. Despite the market’s 88-point smashing on Monday, the benchmark index still climbed from 5135 points to 5218.20 points – a total climb of 1.6%.

Many had been waiting for the stock market to fall in value in order to pick up discounted stocks. Whilst that may not have happened and many stocks are looking unattractive at today’s valuation, there are still plenty of opportunities to be taken advantage of in October. Three core stocks that are still looking attractive are:

1. QBE Insurance Group’s (ASX: QBE) share price has taken a battering since mid-August when the company released its half-year report, which revealed that net profit after tax for the period had fallen by 37% and earnings per share had dropped 43% to US$0.358. The strengthening Australian dollar has also taken its toll on the share price, due to the fact that QBE is heavily exposed to the US market.

Although shareholders would prefer to forget the last few years, QBE presents as a safe bet for investors focused on the long-term – particularly as one of the world’s top 20 insurers.

2. Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX: CCL) is another company that has been beaten down in recent months. After having hit a high of $15.43 in April, Coca-Cola Amatil’s shares have plummeted and are sitting at around $12.35 now – a 20% plunge. The company has been facing significant price competition from its primary rival Schweppes, and at the same time is facing cost pressures from supermarket giants Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) and Woolworths (ASX: WOW).

Although these are certainly justifiable concerns for shareholders to hold, Coca-Cola Amatil should be able overcome these pressures and continue to strengthen in the long term.

3. Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) is another one of Australia’s strongest companies that is currently trading at an attractive price. Whilst the benchmark index has climbed 19.8% over the last 12 months, Westfield has appreciated just 8% (not including dividends). Low consumer confidence and economic uncertainty have taken their toll on Westfield, but the group is strategically divesting from non-core properties and instead focusing on its more profitable ones to improve its global position for the long term.

At the same time, Westfield is also increasing its dividend payouts to investors. Its full-year dividend is currently 51c per share, which is a yield of 4.6%.

Foolish takeaway

Core stocks are vital for any portfolio in that they provide a solid foundation to build upon. Investors should take advantage when there are quality companies trading at attractive prices, such as those mentioned above.

If none of these stocks appeal as additions to your portfolio however, there are plenty more options. For instance, consider The Motley Fool’s favourite income idea for 2013-2014. Get our brand-new, FREE research report, including a full investment analysis! Simply click here for your FREE copy of “The Motley Fool’s Top Dividend Stock for 2013-2014.”

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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