Treasurys around the globe have tumbled near record lows in 2016 leaving yield-hungry investors hunting for places to put their cash. As the masses pile into dividend-heavy sectors like utilities and consumer staples, one strategist warns that the risk may not be worth the reward.
"This is a public service. If it has a high yield, you're accepting risk. That risk is that you're not going to get paid back in some manner so you know be careful of what you ask for," Fort Pitt analyst Kim Forrest told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Friday. "The love of the utility stocks and higher-paying consumer staples has driven valuations up remarkably."
Utilities stocks have surged more than 16 percent this year, making them the best-performing sector in the S&P 500. Meanwhile, consumer staples are among the top five performers in the large-cap index, up 6 percent. Both sectors are among the most expensive in the S&P 500, sporting price-earnings ratios of 23 and 20, respectively.
"We are warning people away from these areas as they often don't understand that principle is at risk — mainly because investors have piled into these things long before them," she said. "Reversal of the trade is not going to be great," added Forrest. "We prefer the total return methodology and keeping cash as cash."
Chantico Global founder Gina Sanchez agreed that "utilities are probably the worst place to look for yield" despite the fact that investors tend to flock to it.
Instead, she recommended looking toward the REITs space. "If you're going to go that route and recognize that you're taking risk, you should probably maybe look to the business lenders, most people also go for real estate," she said Friday on "Trading Nation." She noted that business lenders offer a 10 to 11 percent yield. "That could be an interesting yield play," she added.