Expert says buy these ASX expensive defensives as market momentum is peaking

Predictions that the cyclical momentum is peaking is prompting another broker to urge investors to add ASX expensive defensives to…

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Predictions that the cyclical momentum is peaking is prompting another broker to urge investors to add ASX expensive defensives to their portfolio.

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) believes that the OECD leading indicator is likely to signal a shift to the “slowdown” phase in May or June.

This could very well take the wind out of the sails of the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index:^AXJO) after its 25% surge over the past year.

Best market gains are behind us

But gains in the new financial year starting 30 June are likely to be more subdued even though the outlook for risk assets remains positive.

“The manufacturing PMI may have already peaked as re-opening should drive a shift in spending from goods to services,” said Macquarie.

“While stimulus is not being withdrawn as quickly as after the GFC, we are past that peak too.”

The broker pointed out that the best gains for ASX shares are in the so-called “recovery” and “expansion” phases.

The types of ASX shares to buy for FY22

In the slowdown phase, you should expect lower returns and higher volatility.

“Risk appetite falls in Slowdowns with leadership shifting to defensives, particularly Health and Consumer Staples,” added the broker.

“Banks could also be an attractive defensive in this cycle as bad debts fall, and dividends rise. Banks also have the strongest EPS upgrades of any industry group and tend to outperform as bond yields rise.”

That’s great news for the big ASX banks, like the Westpac Banking Corp. (ASX: WBC) share price and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) share price.

ASX expensive defensive shares outperform when volatility increases

But these shares aren’t the only ones well placed to outperform during a slowdown phase. Defensive ASX shares are also tipped to outrun the broader market despite their expensive valuations.

Macquarie is backing the CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price and Ramsay Health Care Limited Fully Paid Ord. Shrs (ASX: RHC).

Two other expensive defensives that are worth coughing up for are the Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) share price and Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price.

“They are the type of stocks that often outperform in a Slowdown,” said Macquarie.

“Rising yields are a potential valuation risk, but earnings for CSL, COH and RHC were all negatively impacted by COVID while WOW has a potential offset from the endeavour group spin-off.”

Foolish takeaway

Macquarie isn’t the only one that believes you should be looking at expensive defensives during this raging bull market.

As reported on Friday, Wilsons is also urging investors to include ASX defensive expensive shares to their portfolio now.

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Brendon Lau owns shares of CSL Ltd., National Australia Bank Limited, Westpac Banking, and Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Cochlear Ltd. and CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Cochlear Ltd. and Ramsay Health Care Limited. 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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