Street: Buy steady stocks for a skittish market

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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A whirlwind year for macro events is leading investors to seek refuge in large-cap names with consistent and predictable trends.

"The mixed macro data has resulted in a bipolar market," said Savita Subramanian, head of U.S. equity and quantitative strategy at BofA Merrill Lynch.

"Although we have not seen a 5 percent pullback since October, 3 percent pullbacks have been commonplace, and the has been in the tightest trading range we have seen in this recovery," she added.

The rise in volatility over the past several months relates to a combination of macro events such as a selloff in commodities, the debt crisis in Greece, a soft patch in global growth, a bear market in Chinese equities and a strengthening dollar.