Combined Risk and Defensive Strategy for Investors

Investors are faced with the decision, as described in a recent Barron’s article, of whether to “bet big on the bull case—and leave themselves exposed if it doesn’t materialize,” or “position defensively and potentially miss the upside.”

The article argues that there are several risks troubling today’s investors, including the questionable probability of success for Trump’s policy agenda as well and political uncertainty. But these are partially offset by domestic economic growth, it argues. According to BMO strategist Brian Belski, says Barron’s, indecisive clients might benefit from a “barbell” portfolio strategy that includes both a risk and a defensive component.

The risk portion, Belski says, would include “growth at a reasonable price” (GARP) shares—meeting criteria focused on forward price-earnings ratio (below median for S&P 500), predicted earnings-per-share growth (exceeding the S&P 500 median), and price-earnings in relation to EPS growth (PEG ratio that is lower than that of the S&P 500).

For the defensive component, Belski recommends “buying shares that offer dividend yields higher than the S&P 500’s, free-cash flow yields that top their dividend yields, and dividend growth faster than the S&P 500’s.”

According to the article, Belski describes the recent slowing of the Trump rally as the “Chicken Little correction,” but adds that “corrections come when you least expect them.”