BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Since the stock market bottomed out a year ago, many investors got it right as almost all industries rebounded. But some were more right than others.
The following five investment managers took different approaches. Some stayed the course. Others made the biggest bets of their lives on what seemed like down-and-out companies. Faltering real-estate firms, shaky airlines and U.S. blue-chip stocks -- their strategies were derided at the time but proved prescient.
Here's a rundown of Wall Street's savviest, how they outperformed in a time of chaos and what they foresee in 2010 and beyond.
Jay Leupp: Real-Estate Bubble to RubbleWhen nearly everybody else was selling real-estate stocks at the beginning of last year, fund manager Jay Leupp was buying. In the end, his Grubb & Ellis AGA Realty Income Fund (GBEIX) returned 72% in 2009, beating the S&P 500 and his rivals by 45 and 39 percentage points, respectively. "It was an uncertain time, but we focused on real-estate fundamentals and the best management teams, and we found some fantastic values," Leupp says. Leupp sees commercial real estate in the early stages of a three- to five-year recovery, with apartment and health-care real estate investment trusts, or REITs, reviving the fastest. Other areas like lodging and office properties will take longer to bounce back, but he still points to hotel REIT Ashford Hospitality Trust's (AHT) preferred issue as his mutual fund's top pick. "We view this as a way to collect a 10% plus dividend yield and also take advantage of a recovery in lodging fundamentals. Essentially you are getting paid to wait," Leupp says. As for a "sleeper" pick, Leupp likes the series G preferred issue from Glimcher Realty (GRT), a company that owns malls in the northeastern U.S. "Retail fundamentals are already improving as evidenced by the pickup in same-store sales," Leupp says. "This is a company that's already been through this situation before and weathered the storm."
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