3 ETFs for a defensive stance

It's time to start thinking about an exit strategy.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 15, 2013 1:39PM
Arrow Down Umbrella Photographers Choice RF SuperStockBy Teeka Tiwari, editor www.ETFWarrior.com

Stock indexes are very overbought. While overbought doesn't mean over, it is time to start thinking about an exit strategy.  I haven't seen readings this overbought since early 2011. If you remember, we made new highs in April, then waffled around at the highs into July and then promptly dropped 20% from intraday peak to intraday low in October.

Long story short, it's time to get defensive. Yes, we may see a last-gasp-punch higher, but it could be explosive. And unless you are willing to live in front of your computer screen or use very sensitive stop loss points you might want to start thinking about taking some money off the table and/or taking a more defensive stance with your stock holdings.

Here are three ETFs you can use if looking to get defensive.

Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU)
XLU chartThis ETF yields 4.14% and will give you coverage in such utility stocks as Duke Energy (DUK), Southern Company (SO) and PP&L Corp (PPL). It is the epitome of a defensive sector because no matter what happens, people need electricity.

The dividend along with its low-volatility nature makes this ETF a perfect place to ride out the coming storm. It can be bought here with a $30 stop and a $42 target.

PowerShares DB Agriculture (DBA)
DBA chartThis is a more non-traditional safe haven in the commodity food sector. This ETF will give you exposure to the price movements in sugar, live cattle, corn, soybeans, cocoa, coffee, lean hogs, wheat and cattle feeder.

This ETF is non-correlated to stock prices and it can be bought in the $27-$27.50 range with a $25 stop and a $30 target.

iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH)
IYH chartThe drug stocks have been doing very well over the last year. This trend should continue and we should see relative outperformance by this sector. This ETF will give you coverage in such names as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Pfizer (PFE) and Merck (MRK) along with a 1.69% dividend yield.

Use a pull back to $82.50 to get long with an $80 stop and a $92 target.
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