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3 top stock picks from CastleMoore’s Hap Sneddon

Robert ‘Hap’ Sneddon.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Hap Sneddon is a portfolio manager and technical analyst at CastleMoore Inc. His focus is on technical analysis.

Top picks:

George Weston Ltd.
George Weston ranks very well against the rest of the TSX 60, its banking division is rising nicely, and Loblaws management is executing well. The recent announcement by Loblaws to unlock its real estate value is positive, as is the parent company's almost $4-billion war chest.

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Gibson Energy Inc.
Gibson Energy has a very positive investment story. Capital expenditures are rising as the company invests in itself. It has strong expectation for growth and continued dividend increases in a space (heavy oil differentials) that will continue to provide opportunities for the company and its stellar management. Shorter term too, the sector is strong to the end of May, though this may buck the trend and be only a pause.

Pfizer Inc.
Pfizer is the pre-eminent name in the pharmaceutical business, and it's in a sector that is right for 2013 and well beyond. Demographic tailwinds are helping to end more than a decade (from 1998) of under-performance. Recent monthly price actions are very bullish.

Past picks: Jan. 19, 2012

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.
Then: $53.50
Now: $45.24
Total return: –13.48 per cent

PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund
Then: $22.27
Now: $21.84
Total return: –1.93 per cent

Enbridge Inc.
Then: $36.68
Now: $43.92
Total return: +23.22 per cent

Total return average: –7.61 per cent

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Market outlook:

In the near term we expect markets to soften or pause while digesting the bullishness that occurred after fiscal cliff discussions were deferred to March. In Canada, gold producers, energy and energy service companies are poised to play catchup and extend the bullishness into the spring. On a longer basis, pharmaceuticals, consumer staples, pipelines and utilities are continuing to show strength. A successful test of the 10-year Government of Canada bond price softening since late 2012 would provide an opportunity into the spring to raise high-quality fixed income allocations for asset preservation-minded investors.

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