Play Defense Like a Guru

For investors who are getting nervous that the stock market has become overheated amid its strong recent performance, Validea CEO John Reese says there are better options than trying to call a top and ditching stocks.

“Regardless of whether a correction is coming … I’m not one to try to time the market — and you shouldn’t be either,” Reese writes in his latest column for Seeking Alpha. “Far too many investors, succumbing to their own emotions and behavioral biases, end up buying high and selling low when they try to jump in and out of market. ”

For investors who really feel like they need to limit their risk, however, Reese says they should consider some defensive stocks, including those in the healthcare and utility sectors. “By looking to stocks like these, you stack the odds in your favor that you will limit losses if the market does pull back (though, of course, it’s not a guarantee),” Reese says, “but keep yourself exposed to stocks in the event that you’re wrong and stocks keep heading higher (and, if you’re like most investors, there’s a good chance you will be wrong).” He offers five defensive stocks that get high marks from his Guru Strategies (each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great). Among them: healthcare firm Merck & Co.