Global jitters that caused an equity market selloff in February were a major boost for defensive stocks. Robert Buckland, Citi's chief global equity strategist, says to stick with these safe-haven trades for the rest of the year.
"It's right to be kind of bullish when others are bearish and start to back off a bit when others are getting bullish," Buckland told CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report" Tuesday. He recommended "buying the dip" in February, and the S&P 500 has gained more than 8 percent since.
Defensive sectors, those that provide constant dividends and stable earnings despite market moves, have outperformed strongly since their peak before the financial crisis, according to Buckland. He cited comparable EPS, strong dividend growth, less dividend cuts and lower volatility when compared to broader market.
His S&P target for this year is 2,150, and Buckland says there's still room for the upside. The S&P meanwhile traded near 2,073 Tuesday.
"I can't be as bullish as I was in February but I still think there's a little bit more juice in it left," Buckland said, adding that it's not nearly as attractive as it was with "a contrarian call" earlier this year.