The markets and related exchange traded funds (ETFs) have been looking like they are on the mend. There are investors out here, however, who are skeptical that this rally has legs. Where do they go?

ETF investing has become a popular way of getting into the market with less risk than a single stock, especially when times are still uncertain. Fear not – there are ways for skeptics to invest with a “recession-proof,” or defensive, strategy by looking at certain industries.

The Motley Fool suggests that a global approach can be a wise approach, since two-thirds of the global market cap resides outside the United States. Foreign companies and markets are still affected by the U.S. economy, however, the diversification a global investment brings can buffer the losses.

  • iShares MSCI EAFE (EFA): up 15.9% year-to-date

EFA has more than 2,000 holdings, and companies span the globe, ensuring maximum diversification.

Another place investors may turn to for a defensive approach is dividend-paying stocks. The following fund offers about 100 dividend-paying companies. Some are in defensive industries, such as consumer staples, pharmaceuticals and utilities, although some are also in the beleaguered financial sector.

  • iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index (DVY): down 2.9% year-to-date; yields 5.5%

Consumer staples can also be an option. While consumers might delay buying a new television or upgrading that clunky, slow computer, few consumers would put off buying toothpaste, toilet paper and certain basic foods. Consumer staples ETFs can be an appealing option for investors who want to capitalize on this notion.

  • Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP): up 2.7% year-to-date

Remember that having a strategy, no matter the market condition, is necessary. We follow the 200-day moving average. By watching market trends and following through with your strategy in place, losses will be kept to a minimum and emotions will be left out of the equation.

For more stories about dividend and global ETFs, visit our dividend and global ETF categories.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.