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Stocks For When You Don't Want Stocks

Andrew Fisher
Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 | 8:01 AM ET

Harbor Advisory's chief investment officer Jack DeGan has no doubts that these are challenging

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times.

"If we don't get a recession out of the worst credit crunch we've had since the Depression, the worst housing crash since the Depression, and a tremendous oil shock, then we'll probably never get another one," he told CNBC.

So are we in a recession now?

"I think if you believe you're in a recession, as Joe [Kernen] said to me a while back, you want to not own anything with a ticker symbol, just about," he said.

DeGan has some advice for those who think otherwise.

Tale of Two Economies
Will the manufacturing sector keep the economy afloat or will weakness in housing and consumer spending drag the economy down? Jack De Gan, of Harbor Advisory; David Kelly, of JP Morgan Funds; Richard Dekaser, of National City, discuss.

He's got some tough stocks to ride out the rough weather with.

"If you believe the manufacturing sector is going to be strong, things I think you should own there are Caterpillar , General Electric ,, Boeing , Emerson Electric ," he said. "The reason is, they all get more than half of their sales from outside the U.S.; they're well-managed companies, strong balance sheets; they're levered to the international infrastructure build-out, you're probably safe there."

General Electric is the parent company of CNBC.com.

DeGan is especially cautious about consumer-related stocks, but he has some choices there, too: Google , American Express , and Hewlett Packard.

"If you believe the consumer's going to make it through this, these three stocks are some that I would own," he said. "We started buying Google...because we think the secular trend of advertising from offline to online is going to be around for a long time."

And what about the so-called "recession-proof" stocks?

"Those are the stocks that we like...things like Procter and Gamble, Pepsi, and Johnson and Johnson," DeGan said. "These are companies who do slow down in a slower economic environment, but they'll still gain sales, they'll still grow earnings...they're good for individual investors who want to try to ride out a tough time."

DeGan's firm owns more than one per cent of each of all those companies.

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CAT
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GE
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PG
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