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Hide out in these three stocks as markets tank, investor says

Hide out in these sectors during the trade war sell-off, technician says

Stocks are spiraling as the U.S. and China turn the screws even tighter in their trade conflict.

On Monday, the S&P 500 is on track for its sixth negative day in a row, a losing streak not seen since October 2018, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 600 points at the day's lows, so far.

There are corners of the market that offer safety from the storm, though, according to Michael Binger, president of Gradient Investments.

"If you want to be defensive, maybe it's just as simple as owning a couple of defense names," Binger said Friday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "We currently own Raytheon and Lockheed Martin — they've both just had good quarters, they tend to hold up very well in market corrections or downturns, they're high-quality companies, and they're reasonably valued."

Both stocks were holding up against the worst of Monday's sell-off with Raytheon nearly 1% higher, and Lockheed Martin down just 0.4%. The rest of the market had fallen 2%.

"You can also turn to the health-care sector. One name we've been adding to recently is Merck. They just had a stellar quarter. It's on the back of their new cancer drug called Keytruda. It's doing very well. In fact, I think it's taking away shares from their competitors," Binger said.

Merck was 1% lower Monday, also avoiding the worst of the stock market sell-off to begin the week. It has also outperformed an underperforming health-care sector so far this year.

Mark Newton, technical analyst at Newton Advisors, sees a broader shift in the market toward defensive sectors.

"In the last month we've seen [defensive] sectors outperform," Newton said. "If you take a look at real estate, consumer staples, and utilities, they've been the only three sectors out of 11 that have actually shown positive performance on a one-month basis."

Real estate, staples and utilities are the best-performing S&P 500 sectors over the past month, albeit still lower. Utilities, the top sector, have fallen 1% since early July while the S&P 500 has plunged 4%.

"I like that trend [of outperformance] to continue in the months of August and September," said Newton. "These are the kind of sectors that will offer some safety."

Disclosure: Gradient owns RTN, LMT and MRK.