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5 Defensive Stocks to Protect Your Portfolio Gains - views

Clorox

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Last up is Clorox ( CLX), a quintessential defensive play. While Clorox gets lumped in with other consumer staple stocks, this firm's scale isn't close to some of the industry's biggest players -- but in some ways, that's actually an advantage for CLX. It means that the firm has some big growth opportunities ahead of it, unlike saturated rivals who struggle to find growth.

Clorox owns a stable of brands that includes Glad, Hidden Valley and Brita, in addition to the firm's household-name bleach products. What it lacks is geographic diversification. Right now, around 80% of sales come from the U.S. If CLX can expand its reach outside of the country, it has a huge market to cater to, particularly in emerging countries where demand for new products continues to grow.

Clorox's balance sheet looks attractive, with a $423 million cash position offsetting a material chunk of the firm's $2.5 billion debt load. Of all of the names on our list, Clorox has one of the best defenses against market drops; the firm saw a maximum drawdown of 28% in 2008, a maximum dip that was around half what the S&P gave back. CLX looks like a bargain relative to its peers right now. That should help spur upside in shares this quarter.

To see these stocks in action, check out the at Defensive Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.



-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.

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Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Jonas Elmerraji, CMT, is a senior market analyst at Agora Financial in Baltimore and a contributor to
TheStreet . Before that, he managed a portfolio of stocks for an investment advisory returned 15% in 2008. He has been featured in Forbes , Investor's Business Daily , and on CNBC.com. Jonas holds a degree in financial economics from UMBC and the Chartered Market Technician designation.

Follow Jonas on Twitter @JonasElmerraji
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