'Virus-defensive' stocks started to outperform in January, before the broader market plunged

Traders work on the floor at the opening bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on March 18, 2020 in New York.
Bryan R. Smith | AFP | Getty Images

Investors who closely tracked how stocks performed while the coronavirus was still largely in China could have built a portfolio well-designed for the market sell-off, according a new note from Nomura Instinet.

The firm's analysts found that the industries that have performed best in recent weeks showed signs of their defensive nature in late January, and that building a hedged portfolio based on this information would have created large returns — a "virus-defensive portfolio."

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