The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Conversations" series, in which John Reeves and David Meier discuss topics across the investing world.

In today's edition, they discuss the tough economic environment and how investors might protect their portfolios in 2012. Dave offers up three defensive stock ideas. He also discusses three companies he'd steer clear of in current conditions.

John Reeves and David Meier do not own shares of the companies listed above.  The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Wal-Mart, and Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart. 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.