Kevin O'Brien, Prospector Opportunity Fund
The Prospector Opportunity Fund (POPFX), which takes an extremely risk-averse, value-oriented strategy to investing, holds several large-cap companies, and it's no wonder why.
"A lot of the large caps -- almost confusingly so -- are trading at once-in-a-generation multiples," says O'Brien from his Guilford, Conn., office.As of Dec. 31, the Prospector Opportunity Fund had lagged the Russell 2000 Total Return Index over the past year. However, the fund has easily outpaced the index over three years, returning 6% to the Russell 2000's total return of 2.2%. Since its inception in September 2007, the fund has an average annualized return of 5.6%, better than a return of 0.3% on the Russell 2000 Total Return Index. The Prospector Opportunity Fund had 102 stocks as of Dec. 31 with an annual turnover of 45%. O'Brien says the fund's total net assets has climbed above $50 million from $37 million at the end of 2010 due to investor inflows. The fund has a heavy sector allocation to consumer staples, insurance, and information technology, each accounting for more than 10% of the portfolio. For those potential investors with a tax return they're looking to invest, O'Brien offers some stocks for those looking to take a conservative approach. First, O'Brien notes that while Newmont Mining (NEM) has underperformed, it's the largest position in the Prospector Opportunity Fund as the company has several growth initiatives. O'Brien also is happy to see Newmont has laid out a plan to allow investors in the company to participate in rising gold prices. Newmont's annual payout will increase at a rate of 20 cents per share for each $100 per ounce rise in the average realized gold price. At the current gold price, Newmont's annual dividend would be $1 per share. In addition, O'Brien likes PepsiCo (PEP), thanks to predictable growth over the next three to five years. Pepsi has a price-to-earnings ratio of 13, which has been compressed from the mid-20s in recent times. "It's generating over $5 billion in free cash per year," O'Brien says. "They've been aggressively buying back shares and paying out dividends. It's a company you can count on returning capital in the form of buybacks and dividends. They also have nice exposure to international markets."
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