3 popular shares I would avoid buying this year

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Too often investors focus on what shares they should buy and sometimes forget about the all important decision of what they should sell or avoid.

The investment community is naturally geared towards this way of thinking as the weight of broker and analyst recommendations is seemingly always biased towards the buy and hold side.

Nevertheless, avoiding certain shares can make just as big an impact on your overall investment returns and probably deserves more attention than it currently receives.

With that in mind, here are three shares I would avoid right now:

Transurban Group (ASX: TCL)

Transurban owns some of the best road infrastructure assets in the world but I think yield-hungry investors have made the shares too risky to own right now. The biggest risk Australian investors face in the short term is the prospect that international investors will look to exit their positions as US interest rates move higher. Although the shares have already fallen around 15% over the past month, this scenario has the potential to push the shares even lower. With that said, a move below $10 per share would make the investment proposition far more palatable as this would provide a FY 2017 dividend yield of just over 5%.

Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH)

There is no doubt that some investors would be tempted to have a punt on the law firm, especially when you consider it has lost around 95% of its value since mid-2015. As tempting is it may be, I think investors are probably better served by considering other speculative bets at this stage. Slater & Gordon has a tonne of debt on its balance sheet and is yet to convince the market of its cash generating abilities. Perhaps more worrying is that the law firm is still in the hands of the man who oversaw its disastrous UK acquisition.

Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM)

The gold sector has been a shining light over the past couple of years thanks to a rebound in spot gold prices, the depreciation of the Australian dollar and a sector wide push to cut production costs. The outlook for the sector is less certain, however, as an increase in US interest rates will likely have a negative impact on spot gold prices. In any event, investors looking to gain exposure to the gold sector may be better served by considering companies with higher operating margins like Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST).

If you are serious about protecting your capital, then you should avoid three shares  as well.

3 Rotten Shares to Sell, and 1 to Buy Today

After a double-digit rally for the ASX since 2016 lows, investors should be on high alert. You'll find a full rundown below of 3 shares we think you should avoid today plus one top pick worth buying, even if the market turns south and the RBA keeps rates at an "emergency low." Simply click here to uncover these stocks.

Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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