Low-Volatility Stocks: Beware of This Often-Ignored Risk

People want stocks they can rely on, but you still have to be careful. Find out how.

Jul 4, 2014 at 8:09AM

Investors have gravitated toward low-volatility stocks in order to protect themselves from a future market crash. Yet even though these stocks have their advantages, you need to know one big risk before you make a huge commitment to low-volatility plays.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks more closely at low-volatility stocks. Dan notes that over time, the surprising thing about these stocks is that they've outperformed higher-volatility stocks, even though they have less risk. Right now, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) are among stocks with relatively little volatility. Yet Dan notes that volatility changes over time, and that in the past, bank stocks Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) had relatively low volatility as well. When the financial crisis hit, those bank stocks surprised their shareholders with the depth of their declines. Dan concludes that it's important to be careful with your investing no matter what strategy you use.

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Dan Caplinger owns warrants on Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Citigroup, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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