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Sectors to bet on if the Fed stays put

Rates set to rise? Here's how to trade it

The Federal Reserve did not get much closer to raising rates in a statement that was nearly a carbon copy of its June decision. And that has some traders eagerly dusting off a familiar playbook.

"Remember that a year ago, 75 percent of the Street said we were going to get a hike in June. And in March of this year, the Fed took a dovish turn. ... If you take the same playbook from March, then those are the type of things that will do well when the Fed is pushing things out.," Larry McDonald, head of the U.S. Macro Strategies group at Societe Generale, said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" after the Fed's statement Wednesday afternoon

So how exactly can investors play for a Fed that stays on hold?

In that circumstance, Erin Gibbs of S&P Capital IQ would recommend "high-dividend-yielding companies, with a focus on utilities and REITs."

The logic here is simple—if the Fed keeps rates low, then sectors that investors use to generate yield will continue to look attractive relative to bonds, and will outperform.

Dennis Davitt, an options trader with Harvest Volatility Advisors, similarly points to "all dividend plays," such as and staples.

Read MoreFed leaves interest rates unchanged

At the same time, Davitt draws an allusion to adultery website Ashley Madison's infamous slogan to illustrate the foolhardiness of such a strategy in a longer term.

"Life is short. Buy a div stock with no growth potential trading on a 20 P/E," he wrote to CNBC, referring to richly valued yield plays that have been propped up by low rates in the bond market.

McDonald says that battered commodity stocks are the way to go. Indeed, it has been long thought that accommodative Fed policy would spur inflation that would hurt the dollar and thus help commodities. However, this thesis has not panned out in the least, and commodities have gotten crushed as a result.

Read More July slaughter sends commodities to 13-year low

Additionally, not everyone is looking for the Fed to hold steady. In a Wednesday report, Bank of America's global economics, rates and FX research team wrote that the July statement "was slightly more upbeat about the data and suggested continued progress toward liftoff. ... Our base case remains a September liftoff, with a marginally higher probability than before today's meeting."


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