The stock market’s wild swings over the past few months have some calling for a swift V-shaped recovery and others forecasting the start of a new bear market. Of course, it’s impossible to know for certain who’s correct, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare for either eventuality by shoring up your portfolio with some defensive, bear market stocks.
Any seasoned trader will tell you that a bear market is an opportunity. They tend to be shorter than bull markets, making them worth investing in if you can wait it out. With that said, there are plenty of risks that come along with a bear market.
Perhaps the best strategy for bear market investors is to keep some powder dry to take advantage of opportunities. As the summer earnings season approaches, uncertainty will start to creep in. Second-quarter results will mark the first time investors have had something concrete to price stocks on since the March drop.
Encouraging data could lead the market into another rally. But worse-than-expected figures could cause another nosedive. With that in mind, investors prepping their portfolios for a prolonged bear market should pick up big, reliable names that can weather the storm. Here are five great bear market stocks to help get you started:
- CVS Health (NYSE:CVS)
- Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL)
- Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC)
- Dominion Energy (NYSE:D)
- Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)
Bear Market Stocks: CVS Health (CVS)
Healthcare is one industry that makes sense as a long-term play — especially as the population ages. CVS stock and its peers could have some volatility ahead as the U.S. presidential election heats up and healthcare reform moves back into the headlines. But CVS is a unique take on the healthcare industry because the company has become a one-stop shop for all things healthcare.
While that much control could raise questions, it also has the potential to reduce healthcare costs and put more focus on preventative care. The firm’s acquisition of Aetna has given CVS a powerful insurance arm which it will presumably use to direct clients to its walk-in clinics.
By directing more people to its HealthHub clinics, CVS will increase store traffic and potential sales as well. For that reason, CVS stock makes for one of the best bear market stocks because the firm will see the benefits of its Aetna acquisition materialize over the next year.
Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL)
When it comes to reliable, big-name stocks that will remain relevant in the long term, there is no better choice than Alphabet. The firm is best known for its Google search engine, but GOOG stock offers more than just an online advertising play.
For now, that’s the firm’s bread and butter, something that will insulate Google throughout the duration of the pandemic. Advertisers have no choice but to reach customers via Google’s search engine, so even if spending falls, Google is going to remain a top advertising choice.
In the longer term, though, Alphabet’s other business arms are what make this stock worth holding onto. From healthcare technology to autonomous driving, Alphabet stock has its finger on the pulse of the future.
Teladoc Health (TDOC)
The pandemic has accelerated several developing technology trends as it forced the world to adapt to doing pretty much everything from home. But no sector looks more promising in the post-pandemic reality than that of virtual healthcare.
Teladoc Health is a virtual healthcare company that allows people to contact a doctor for a wide range of health concerns without ever leaving their homes. This kind of treatment was already on the rise before the novel coronavirus struck, but its services have seen a spike as people avoid high-risk transmission areas like doctors’ offices.
Plus, Teladoc claims it can reduce healthcare costs by 28%, meaning that even if coronavirus concerns are totally eliminated over the next six months, people will still have a reason to continue using virtual healthcare.
Dominion Energy (D)
Another good place to look for bear market stocks is in the utilities sector. Companies like Dominion Energy are worth holding throughout periods of economic downturn. Why? Because no matter what, people are going to do everything they can to keep the lights on.
D stock has the benefit of reoccurring revenue. And this makes it much easier for management to plan accordingly for the years ahead. That kind of stability is hard to find at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic.
Dominion offers investors a 4.4% dividend yield, which should help make any market volatility more bearable. While that figure is unlikely to rise anytime soon, much of the firm’s revenue comes from state-regulated utilities. That gives the company a lot of strength for the foreseeable future.
Facebook, alongside many of its Big Tech peers, has risen to all-time highs amid the pandemic. Admittedly that makes FB one of the riskier bear market stocks on this list. But starting to build up a position in Facebook is a wise long-term play because the company is on the verge of challenging e-commerce juggernaut Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) at its own game.
Facebook’s new Shops platform has the potential to pose a real threat to Amazon in the coming years. It makes it easier for people to buy things without ever leaving the platform. Facebook and Instagram already help people discover products. But giving consumers an easier way to buy those products gives Facebook serious power.
Facebook’s privacy issues and ongoing criticism of the way it handles free speech are likely to continue driving volatility. That’s especially true in the lead-up to November’s election. However, FB stock is a buy-and-hold investment that will pay off for years to come.
Laura Hoy has a finance degree from Duquesne University and has been writing about financial markets for the past eight years. Her work can be seen in a variety of publications including InvestorPlace, Benzinga, Yahoo Finance and CCN. As of this writing, she did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.