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TheStreet Open House

Apple, Little Understood, Is Best-Run Company

Stocks in this article: AAPLTEVAATVI

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Erick Maronak, manager of the Victory Large Cap Growth Fund (VFGAX), says Apple (AAPL) is the best-run company in the U.S., helping to make it the most attractive stock investment.

The $80 million mutual fund, which garners three of five stars from Morningstar, has returned more than 36% over the past year. The fund has risen an average of 2% annually during the past five years, better than 72% of its Morningstar-tracked peers.

Welcome to TheStreet.com's Fund Manager Five Spot, where America's top mutual fund managers give their stock picks and views of the stock market in five fast questions.

Are you bullish or bearish?

Maronak: We are bulls on the stock market but even more bullish on high-quality growth stocks. The current focus on sovereign debt risk, uncertainty regarding regulatory changes and policy decisions is obscuring evidence of a solid, but gradual, recovery. U.S. industrial production increased at an annualized rate of 10% over the last seven months, and the global picture is not much different.

With more than 80% of companies having reported earnings, results have been strong with greater than 50% surprising on the upside. Not surprisingly and consistent with the prior two quarters, companies that exceeded revenue expectations in addition to beating EPS estimates performed better than those that simply had positive earnings surprises. Cost-cutting can only go so far. Therefore, companies that can show true demand in terms of revenue growth are awarded a premium. We believe the same can be said of the overall market. Following last year's broad bounce off the March lows, an encore performance in 2010 will be much more challenging. The list of winners will naturally shorten, but those companies that make the list should enjoy relative premiums in terms of stock performance. Our view is that the investing environment has shifted from rewarding investors for simply staying in the market to being in the right stocks.

What is your top pick?

Maronak: Choosing one is difficult, so I'll provide two. Apple and Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) are top picks due to their dominant industry positions, strong financials, capable management teams and the ability to provide 17% to 20% growth against very reasonable valuations.

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