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Market Volatility Looms: Protect Your Portfolio Like a Pro

The markets, so far in 2016,have seen rampant fluctuations and what the future will bring is anybody’s guess.

In fact, a lackluster earnings backdrop, ambiguity in oil and other commodity prices, and global growth concerns have added to the macro uncertainty. So there will be plenty of volatility to deal with before these quandaries are ironed out.

Beating a Trend-Challenged Market

In the face of such odds, it would be wise for investors to protect their stock portfolio by working out strategies that can minimize losses on the one hand and book profits on the other. Investors need to hunt for stocks that will remain steady when the broad market starts to blow hot and cold.

A time-tested way of earning stable returns in a whimsical market is by investing in low-beta stocks that have high dividend yields and possess solid fundamentals. Before we handpick the right stocks, let us delve a little deeper into the parameters:

The Winning Strategy

Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Whether good market conditions or bad, stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) have a proven history of success as they generally outperform.

Beta less than 1:Beta measures the tendency of a stock's returns to respond to market swings. Low correlation stocks are thus protected from market turbulence given their minimal macroeconomic risk and less susceptibility to day-to-day fluctuations.

Dividend Yield greater than 2%: Dividend stocks provide ample downside protection through sizable yields and act as a hedge against equity market risks, thereby shielding the portfolio from economic upheavals.

Relative % Price Change (year-to-date) greater than 1: This helps in screening stocks that have outperformed the market (S&P 500) on a year-to-date basis.

To further refine our screen, we filtered for stocks that have P/E Ratio (using F1) less than or equal to 20: Stocks with low P/E tend to trade at a price below their fundamentals, thus keeping the window open for price appreciation. In addition, these are less prone to day-to-day fluctuations and are thus safer bets.

Projected EPS Growth Rate (F1/F0) greater than zero: Positive earnings growth rate indicates that the company is on the right track to provide value to its investors.

Market Capitalization Range greater than $2 billion: We are leaving out the high-flying small-cap companies because their inherent volatility might lead greedy investors to lose money in their quest for quick bucks.

Average 20 Day Volume greater than 50,000: A substantial trading volume ensures that the stock is easily tradable.

Percentage Change F1 Earnings Estimate Revisions (4 Weeks) greater than or equal to zero: Upward estimate revisions add to the optimism, suggesting further bullishness.

Here we present five of the 13 stocks that qualified the screening:

Bemis Company, Inc. (BMS)

China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (CHA)

Bancolombia S.A. (CIB)

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI)

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

Better Safe than Sorry

They say, “No one ever made a dime panicking.” While it is true that market ups and downs present considerable investment challenges, but it also bears opportunities for smart investors who can endure capricious conditions. So, buckle up and enjoy the market’s rollercoaster ride.

In fact, you can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today.

Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at:

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JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report
BEMIS (BMS): Free Stock Analysis Report
DARDEN RESTRNT (DRI): Free Stock Analysis Report
CHINA TELCM-ADR (CHA): Free Stock Analysis Report
BANCOLOMBIA-ADR (CIB): Free Stock Analysis Report
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