Three stocks to hedge against an economic slowdown

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The Federal Reserve painted a more somber economic picture this week, and one money manager said its outlook is on the money.

“You just look around the world and you see everything slowing down and we’ve been an island,” Ron Weiner, managing director and partner at RDM Financial Group, told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Thursday. “It just doesn’t look like there’s a great amount of upside around the globe so I think that’s going to hurt the U.S. to some extent.”

Global and U.S. economic growth is expected to decelerate in 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund, with the U.S. likely to experience its slowest rate in three years.

To hedge against an economic slowdown, Weiner is betting on sectors with disruptive technologies and stocks.

“Traditional health care would be the pharma stocks – we don’t think that’s going to be the place to go,” Weiner said. “Biotechnology is really the future and that’s what’s probably going to save the health-care system — when we can find ways of killing cancer without radiation and chemo.”

The IBB biotechnology ETF has outpaced the S&P 500 this year with gains of more than 16 percent. It has risen 426 percent over the past 10 years, far better than the S&P 500’s 271 percent increase.

“That’s the future so we like companies like Illumina,” he said.

Genome sequencing company Illumina has rallied nearly 30 percent in the past 12 months, roughly five times the increase by the S&P 500.

Financial stocks have underperformed the market, but Weiner sees an overdue bounce coming to the group driven by cheaper valuations and increased capital return through buybacks and dividends.

PayPal, in particular, should break out further, he said.

“Companies like PayPal that are in the processing of payments — in a lot of ways, they’re the future,” he said. “Find financials like PayPal that are going to do quite well going forward.”

PayPal has surged 24 percent this year, more than double the gains by the XLF financial ETF.

Technology’s omnipresence should help drive that sector higher, Weiner said. While he’s bullish on the entire group, there is one old-world name he likes that straddles the high-yield and tech world: IBM.

“We haven’t owned IBM for a long, long time, but we got back into it in our income accounts,” said Weiner. “You’ve got a 10-year Treasury at 2.5 percent. IBM’s dividend – when we bought it, it was around 5 percent.”

IBM now yields around 4.5 percent, more than double the dividend on the S&P 500. It has increased its dividend four times in the past five years.

“IBM has finally hit a place where they can start growing and offering more products,” he said. “You can make money while you’re waiting and still be in technology. We think that’s a great place to be.”

Disclosure: Ron Weiner personally owns shares of Illumina, PayPal and IBM. RDM Financial Group owns shares of PayPal and IBM.

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