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Top protection plays on plunging markets: Traders

Stock markets took another bruising on Thursday, and many investors looked to protect themselves against more rocky trading days.

The Dow Jones industrial average dipped for a second-straight day, dropping nearly 300 points, while the Nasdaq lost 2 percent. A sluggish global economic outlook, slumping commodity prices and the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision all contributed to the uncertainty.

Traders offered their plays to hedge against the confusion in CNBC "Power Lunch" interviews Thursday.

Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Share repurchases

Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionMONSTER, sees entry points in "severely oversold" companies that offer stock buyback programs.

"If you're looking for someplace to hide and where there might be a big hand under the market, I believe it's in these stocks on the share repurchase side," he noted.

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Najarian pointed to some large-cap stocks that have slogged through this year but have strong repurchasing programs. He likes General Electric and Apple, both of which fell more than 1.5 percent on Thursday.

Legacy tech companies like IBM, Microsoft and Cisco Systems—all negative for the year—have appealing buyback programs, he added. Najarian also highlighted ExxonMobil, which has shed nearly 19 percent this year.

Homebuilders

Homebuilder stocks have soared ahead of the market this year. Despite a more than 2 percent loss Thursday, the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF has climbed more than 12 percent in 2015.

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The sector offers a buying opportunity on weakness, said Noah Blackstein, vice president and portfolio manager at Dynamic Funds. He sees a "supply shortage" in new homes, with big opportunities for growth and margin improvement in the sector.

Energy

Diving crude oil and natural gas prices have smacked the energy stocks. The S&P 500 Energy Sector has fallen 18 percent this year.

Ben Willis of Princeton Securities sees a chance to buy on that weakness. He pointed to the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund, which slid more than 1.5 percent on Thursday.