3 shares perfect for nervous investors

The valuations of a number of the ASX’s biggest shares are starting to look a little bit stretched and this might have some investors feeling a little nervous.

For example, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) shares are now trading on a price-to-earnings ratio of more than 15 and offering a dividend yield of less than 4.9% – not particularly attractive considering the bank is unlikely to deliver anything more than low-to-mid-single digit earnings growth over the next couple of years.

As a result, I think investors should be prepared for some volatility later this year as the market looks to take profits and wait for more attractive opportunities.

With that in mind, here are three shares that I think could help to protect investors from a sharp sell-off:

Blue Sky Alternative Investments Ltd (ASX: BLA)

As the name suggests, Blue Sky Alternative Investments is a company that invests in alternative asset classes including private equity, private real estate, real assets and hedge funds. The important thing to note here is that the returns of alternative asset classes are not closely correlated with equity markets and this can provide share market investors with an additional level of diversification and risk management. Blue Sky is forecasting a huge jump in assets under management over the next three years as investors become increasingly aware of the benefits of investing in alternative asset classes.

Future Generation Investment Company Ltd (ASX: FGX)

Future Generation is essentially a ‘fund of funds’ that provides investors with exposure to some of Australia’s best fund managers including Paradice Investments, Regal Funds Management and Bennelong Australian Equities Partners. Importantly, the managers use a diverse range of strategies and styles that are expected to reduce the level of volatility within the portfolio. For example, some managers employ a market neutral strategy, while others may use a long only or absolute bias strategy. So far, the shares of Future Generation have been far less volatile than the broader market over the past two years, although investors can expect the shares to underperform when the market is rallying strongly.

BetaShares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund (ASX: BBOZ)

Most retail investors lack the ability to short sell individual shares, but investors now have the ability to take a short position against the broader market by using this exchange traded fund (ETF). This can be a very useful hedging tool if you think the market is overvalued and you want to protect the value of your portfolio without having to sell your shares. It is important to note that a 1% fall in the Australian share market on a given day can generally be expected to deliver a 2% to 2.75% increase in the value of the Strong Bear Hedge Fund and vice versa. For a little less risk, investors can also consider BetaShares Australian Equities Bear Hedge Fund (ASX: BEAR) which will only move a comparable, but opposite amount to the market on a given day.

If you are you worried about the direction of the share market, then you need to read this...

For Investors Who Are Anxious About 2017

In 2017, the share market could have its most volatile year ever. That's why one Foolish expert is revealing 5 of his favorite dividend payers now. These "strong and steady" shares promise a healthy stream of income plus capital gains...

But you must act now. This newly updated report is available for a limited time only, and your copy is 100% free. So don't miss out!

Simply click here to receive your free copy of "Our Top 5 ASX Dividend Shares to Earn You Money in 2017" right now.

Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares of Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited. 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.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.