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3 top stock picks from First Asset’s John Stephenson

John Stephenson.

Della Rollins/The Globe and Mail

John Stephenson is senior vice-president and portfolio manager at First Asset Investment Management. His focus is on North American large caps and resource stocks.

Top Picks:


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Compelling valuation, strong cash flow generation, improving credit and Citi Holdings. Very strong second quarter earnings. I own it and so too does First Asset.

Blackstone Group

Very cheap relative to the traditional asset managers with extremely strong growth in assets under management and a positive catalyst from its real estate holdings.


I don't own it and nor does First Asset at present. Huge upside to the name through improving capital markets and strong growth through its ETFs.

Past Picks: June 27, 2012

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners
Then: $27.40
Now: $29.25
Total return: +12.05 per cent

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Then: $39.96
Now: $45.89
Total return: +18.11 per cent

Cash (Third pick)

Total return average: + 10.05 per cent

Market outlook:

Over the last two months, yields on the 10-year bonds have started to back-up as the U.S. Fed has begun to contemplate the withdrawal of stimulus. While the timing surrounding this tapering is unclear, markets have begun to favour cyclically over defensive stocks. The best opportunities for Canadian investors are in U.S. financials and Canadian insurers and asset managers.

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