10 defensive stocks that can also provide you with growth and dividends over the long term

The S&P 500 Index has rallied 10% since June 22 from a deep decline, but there are different schools of thought about whether investors are out of the woods yet.

Mark Hulbert has called the recent action a bear-market rally, setting the stage for the stock market to resume its slide. Meanwhile, analysts at BlackRock recommend investors lean toward defensive stocks.

One way to do that is to focus on the health-care sector. This is generally considered a defensive group of stocks — after all, the population is aging, innovation creates new treatments and medical attention is not an option for most people. A screen of health-care-sector stocks in the S&P 500
is below.

On Aug. 8, S&P Global Market Intelligence published results of a survey of money managers who oversee about $845 billion of investors’ money. This group of about 100 institutional investors remains “risk averse,” according to S&P Global, which went so far as to say that its Global Investment Manager Index indicated “overall sentiment” had it its lowest point in the survey’s history.

Here’s how the surveyed managers felt about the 11 stock sectors:

S&P Global

Health care is institutional investors’ favorite sector, and it is the fourth-best performer this year among the 11 sectors of the S&P 500. It also performed well during the bull market, ranking third for five years and 10 years through 2021:

Total return – 2022 through Aug. 9

Total return – 5 years through 2021

Total return – 10 years through 2021





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