Analysis: PEP XLE AWK MKC CIBR

After you receive this Alert, we will make the following trades:

-- Buy 105 shares of PepsiCo (PEP) at or near $157.75. Following the trade, PEP will account for roughly 2.0% of the portfolio.

-- Buy 210 shares of the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) at or near $78.75. Following the trade, XLE will account for about 1.2% of the portfolio.

With stocks selling off hard today as the market digests the post Fed meeting comments, which we shared our view on with members earlier this morning, we will use that move to wade deeper into our positions in PepsiCo and Energy Select Sector SPDER Fund.

While the PEP trade builds on our existing position in this defensive snack and beverage company and increases the portfolio's dividend exposure, the XLE trade is in line with our stated approach of increasing the ETF's exposure at or below $80. Even though oil prices are down today, continued tight supplies amid the West's sanctions on Russia will keep inventory levels low, which should only be exacerbated as China moves past its current lockdowns. That should keep gas prices, unfortunately for consumers, at elevated levels while natural gas prices are up considerably this morning with Russia once again dialing back exports to Europe. We continue to like the multi-faceted energy exposure XLE shares bring to the portfolio.

As we make these trades, we are also eyeing similar opportunities in American Water Works (AWK) , McCormick & Co. (MKC) and the First Trust Nasdaq Cybersecurity ETF (CIBR) . We are also continuing to look at more defensive business models that are dividend payers and that are battle tested in past economic slowdowns and downturns and also at levels that are opportunities to own.

Given the evolving landscape, we are not inclined to make any rash movements. Be it "measure twice, cut once," "slow and steady wins the race" or some other adage that fits our approach right now, we're not inclined to make sudden, widespread, aim-for-the-fences moves while we are still in a bear market with rates poised to rise even further keeping volatility. With the risk of the Fed likely to overshoot the soft landing and an upcoming earnings season that could see more downward revisions and price target cuts, in the near-term we are in no hurry to deploy our cash position as it offers ample cushion for the portfolio.

(Please note that we are looking to execute these trades at or near the share price mentioned above. Once the trade is completed, subscribers can see the trade's executed price here. Be sure to toggle the chart to sort by Purchase Date.)

Action Alerts PLUS is long PEP, XLE, AWK, MKC and CIBR.