DEE-fense! DEE-fense! Should Investors Heed the Cheer?

With the economic outlook so uncertain, lots of smart money is in stocks that can withstand the onslaught of bad news

It's an old saw in football: Defense wins championships. The same held true for Wall Street last year. With all the volatility in the markets of 2000, defensive stocks -- those of companies whose earnings are seen as being most resistant to a slowing economy -- were all the rage. While the Dow and tech-heavy Nasdaq were en route to some sizable losses, defensive issues such as Merck (MRK ), Boeing (BA ), and Philip Morris (MO ) posted impressive gains.

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