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3 top stock picks from Baskin’s Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager with Baskin Financial Services.

TGAM

Barry Schwartz is vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services. His focus is on North American large caps.

Top Picks:

JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Use the premium Canadian dollar to take advantage of JPMorgan's attractive valuation. Even though JPMorgan made headlines this year with an embarrassing trading loss, it should deliver record earnings and a healthy dividend increase in 2013.

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Magna International Inc.
Car sales in the U.S. should continue their strong rebound in 2013 as consumers replace their aging vehicles and take advantage of cheap financing. Magna is trading at a discount to its historical valuation and should increase its dividend in the coming year.

Microsoft Corp.
We expect Microsoft to deliver another year of record earnings in 2013. While the market is skeptical of Microsoft's future, its current valuation is absurdly cheap given its dominance in business services.

Past Picks: Nov. 21, 2011

High Liner Foods
Then: $15
Now: $29.27
Total return: +100.27 per cent

Algoma Central
Then: $98
Now: $123.45
Total return: +28.42 per cent

Canadian Utilities
Then: $60.22
Now: $67.70
Total return: +15.42 per cent

Total Return Average: +48.04 per cent

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Market outlook

Even with corporate profits set to reach their highest level ever this year, investors seem certain that we are in for more uncertainty. Stock valuations are too low in an environment that is conducive to stocks outperforming. Low interest rates, benign inflation, modest economic growth, rising dividends and record profits are key ingredients for a healthy stock market. An improving U.S. economic outlook is taking hold. Investors should prepare their portfolios for better times by overweighting with high-quality dividend growers.

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