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Pro Analysis

Investor up 20% YTD buys 2 new stocks for second half

Saira Malik, whose stock picks for CNBC PRO's "Platinum Portfolio" competition are up more than 20 percent this year, chose two new names she believes are poised to outperform in the second half of 2016.

"Investors will continue to be easily spooked due to macro/ political drama so we are focusing on high quality companies with identifiable catalysts and strong free cash flow," wrote Malik in an email to CNBC PRO.

The ongoing volatility in the market should lead investors to adopt a more "defensive" stance in the second half, said Malik, who is head of global equity portfolio management at TIAA Global Asset Management, a firm with more than $860 billion in assets under management.

She stresses that despite macro headwinds, equities remain the "most attractive asset class" due to a low interest rate environment, low inflation and positive GDP growth, along with all the stimulus measures by central banks around the globe.

In her own words, Malik shares her investment strategy for the months ahead.