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Here's How Anxious Investors Can Hedge Against Fed Uncertainty

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The Federal Reserve under chairman Jay Powell has been somewhat mercurial to say the least.

Into the close of 2018, there was a gradual tightening of interest rates to come more in line with historic levels and curb the potential for inflationary pressures as employment continued to climb.

That tact has been completely reversed in recent weeks, it seems, with St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard suggesting a "downward policy rate adjustment may be warranted soon" and Powell himself noting the Fed would be willing to take action if dynamics shift further on Tuesday morning.

So, what is a retail investor to do as the narrative does a 180 in a matter of months?

Joe Hudepohl, portfolio manager of the ESG-focused Atlanta Capital Focused Growth (EILGX) - Get Eaton Vance Atlanta Cap Focus Gr I Report and Calvert Equity (CEYIX) - Get Calvert Equity Port I Report portfolios, funds that perform in the top 1% and 3% of their peer groups respectively, advised investing in companies that are high quality regardless of interest rate action.

"We're not investing for the macro forecasts," he said, explaining that his portfolio is designed to perform across full market cycles and remain resilient to a Fed more focused on market action.

Still, he advised investors need to be at least cognizant of what the Fed is looking at and how that can not only affect Fed policy, but the overall economy.

"I think people are expecting potentially a rate cut," Hudepohl acknowledged. "I think the market is telling you that...You have to pay attention the markets, you're going to have to pay attention to GDP, which are all going to be factors in what they decide to do in the future.

Regardless of the short term outlook, Hudepohl advised looking at investments that have shown an ability to perform through differing market environments and Federal Reserve policies.

He cited Danaher (DHR) - Get Danaher Corporation Report and Thermo Fisher (TMO) - Get Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. Report as key examples of companies with an ability to grow their businesses and notch shareholder gains consistently even amidst market turmoil.

For more stock picks and Hudepohl's thoughts on portfolio strategy, check out the full interview here.

Related. How ESG Investing Can Aid Your Portfolio Irrespective of Market Environment

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