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3 bull market defensive picks for your portfolio

Pras Subramanian

Longtime market veteran Hugh Johnson has been on Breakout over the past couple years banging the table that investors need to get into the market because we are in the midst of a multi-year secular bull market. However recently he has tweaked his point of view.

In the attached video, Johnson advises to build some defense into a “bull market portfolio” because we are in a low return environment. The bull will continue, but investors need to protect themselves as well. Here are Johnson’s top 3 defensive picks for any investor.

1. Unilever (UL)

“Unilever with a 3.6% yield that’s really good news. The second thing is they’re running the company extremely well, starting to shift more towards household products which are higher margin businesses. Look for good performance in the company, it’ll benefit from a recovery in Europe [too].”

2. Merck (MRK)

“It’s in the right sector, health care, probably the best sector in the U.S. market. Merck has a lot going for it, good pipeline, lot of stuff that’s going to start to work really well, and once again we’re talking about a dividend yield that gives you some sort of cushion in a low return environment… 3% [yield] is not bad particularly when you think about treasuries yielding 2.6%.”

3. Verizon (VZ)

“I’m not a big lover of telecom, and I’m not a big lover of utilities, but again if I’m trying to build a little bit of defense into portfolio Verizon in the telecom sector is the right thing to buy. Now we’re talking about a real dividend yield, 4.6%, reasonably well run company, positive relative performance… this will give you good defense.”


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