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Pharmaceuticals in Focus

Defensive stocks have continued to top the list of safe plays for investors in 2009. With the U.S. government's $900 billion fiscal stimulus still being considered by the Senate, many are hopeful, yet cautious about where they should be putting their money right now.

An investor on CNBC Asia Pacific's "Protect Your Wealth" said she was banking on healthcare and consumer staples.

"We feel that going forward, the market is going to focused more on innovation. And we think the big pharmaceutical companies will be under pressure even though they are quite cash-rich," Daphne Roth, head of equity Research for Asia at ABN AMRO Private Bank said. "But they will be under pressure from patent expiry, from generic competition. So we are looking at companies that can still produce some pipeline discovery, like more on the biotech side."

She named stocks like Genentech and Lonza from Switzerland, as well as Johnson & Johnson. In Asia, Roth said Takeda Pharmaceutical was also worth looking at.

(Watch full interview at left)

On the consumer staples front, Roth added that she liked tobacco firms like KT&G, Philip Morris, retailer Wal-Mart and McDonald's "because they are still quite cash-rich".

Roth also highlighted the importance noting when companies are due to refinance their debt, as they could be affected by the credit squeeze.

"There will be a lot of focus on balance sheet strength -- whether there are any refinancing deals... so we're buying companies like Rio Tinto. They have $10 billion of refinancing due this year in October. So I think stock selection is still quite important," Roth concluded.

Comments? Questions? Send them in here.


Catch "Protect Your Wealth" on CNBC's Asia Pacific network every Tuesday on "CNBC's Cash Flow," Wednesday on "Asia Squawk Box" and Thursday on "Capital Connection."