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Federated Clover Fund Says No to Gold

Stocks in this article: VSFAX SKX CRDN

ROCHESTER, N.Y. ( TheStreet) -- Lawrence Creatura, manager of the Federated Clover Small Value Fund (VSFAX), says he's avoiding precious metals stocks in favor of energy shares, despite gold's recent gains.

The fund, which is rated three stars by Morningstar (MORN), has risen 31% in the past year, better than about half of its peers. During the past five years, the Federated Clover Small Value Fund has returned an average of 2.1% annually, better than three-quarters of its rivals.

Welcome to TheStreet's Fund Manager Five Spot, where America's top mutual fund managers give their best stock picks in five fast and furious questions.

Are you bullish or bearish?

Creatura: I'm optimistic about picking stocks in the small-value space because there are always bargains to be discovered. There's always some sort of localized disaster going on in an industry, which can create opportunities for small-value investors to scoop up stocks at an attractive discount.

What is your top stock pick?

Creatura: Skechers USA (SKX) is our top pick because it's a company that's benefiting from a return to normalcy in its business. Its traditional lines are doing well and it also has some standout products in the children's area, like "Twinkle Toes."

There's a new footwear phenomenon called the "wellness category" of which Sketchers is at the forefront. Skechers makes a type of shoe called "Shape Ups" that allow people to lose weight and tone their leg muscles while they walk. The wellness category of shoes is an emerging trend. It's not a cannibalistic item for Skechers because it's an incremental shoe that adds to consumer's footwear collections. The Shape Ups are a higher price point product in a market full of desperate retailers, customers love it and retailers like it. There's a certain freshness in the scarcity of this product and it represents a reinvigoration in the footwear category.

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