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3 top stock picks from BluMont’s Veronika Hirsch

Veronika Hirsch is chief investment officer at BluMont Capital. Her focus is on Canadian equities and alternative investing.

Top picks:

Gibson Energy Inc.
This is one of my favourite midstream companies, with plenty of growth prospects and an attractive 4.3-per-cent yield. Gibson has one of the lowest payout ratios in its industry and management is committed to raising dividends on a regular basis – in fact, it has done so three times already since the IPO in 2011.

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Boyd Group Inc.
Boyd has been growing profitably by successfully consolidating collision repair shops in North America. Opportunities remain for many years of continued acquisitions, and the company might eventually become a target itself.

Safeway Inc.
Safeway has been out of favour, with excessive debt on the balance sheet as a result of share buybacks. Operations have been improving, and the company reported a big beat in the fourth quarter. It has recently filed for the IPO of its Blackhawk subsidiary, a gift-card provider, which could raise $200 million and thus help reduce debt.

Past picks: March 22, 2013

Granite REIT
Then: $37
Now: $39.09
Total return: +12.81 per cent

Gibson Energy Inc.
Then: $20.63
Now: $25.04
Total return: +30.09 per cent

Boyd Group Inc.
Then: $12.61
Now: $18.60
Total return: +52.16 per cent

Total return average: +31.69 per cent

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Market outlook:

Cyprus is the fifth, and unfortunately not the last, euro zone country to need a bailout. Markets will have to endure financial turmoil in Europe for several more years, and we can only hope the solutions become progressively more effective. For now, it looks like investors have learned to live with the uncertainty.

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