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The mutual fund, which garners a full five stars from
Morningstar, has returned 19% over the past year, putting it in Morningstar's 94th percentile. Over the past three years, however, the fund has returned an average of 8% annually, better than 80% of its rivals.
Welcome to TheStreet.com's Fund Manager Five Spot, where America's top mutual fund managers give their best stock picks and views on the market in a five-question format.
Are you bullish or bearish?Estes: Working in a bottom-up shop, I do not really have an opinion on the economy as whole per se. It appears to be recovering, although the continued drag of unemployment is something to watch. However, I am bearish on finding good businesses that are trading at discounts. For me, that means more sales than purchases at this time until I can find ideas at attractive prices.
What is your top stock pick?Estes: I'll go with a company that Intrepid has never owned before: Microsoft. We normally do not look to mega-caps, but the market has pushed up small- and mid-caps sharply in the last six months. Microsoft has dominant market share, a clean balance sheet and a cash flow yield of about 10%. It trades today for the same price it had about 10 years ago, but in that time, operating income has doubled. It's a consistent business, which makes it easier for me to value confidently.
Do you have a favorite sector?Estes: I have seen more opportunities lately in the health-care sector. It is an "unloved" area of the market right now, partly because of health-care reform, but also because as the economy improves, the market prefers companies with more risk. Whether it's
CR Bard(BCR - Get Report),
Gilead Sciences(GILD - Get Report) or
Teleflex(TFX - Get Report), we are seeing a number of opportunities in pharmaceuticals and medical-supply companies.
What is your top "beneath the radar" stock pick?Estes: It's Speedway Motorsports. We actually own both International Speedway and Speedway Motorsports. Both companies own tracks for Nascar races. The sport itself has been through a cyclical bottoming out, and we look for an improvement in admission at various races. While International Speedway has seen its share price move up since the market moved up at the end of summer, Speedway Motorsports has participated to a lesser degree, which means it has the bigger discount. Finally, Speedway Motorsports has announced that it has refinanced its debt, and we think it has the opportunity to de-lever in the future, which would improve its equity value.
What sector or stock would you avoid?Estes: Our exposure to financial companies has generally been reduced in the past several months as investment ideas have reached intrinsic values. In addition, many financials, particularly banks, remain opaque and difficult to value.
-- Reported by Gregg Greenberg in New York.