(Adds news of Qualcomm's plan to expand product line.)
BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Europe may be on the brink of a recession, and economists say the U.S. may be dragged down by the Old Continent. Addison Capital's Michael Church says investors, as a result, may be too pessimistic. That's reflected in his stock picks.
He is founder and chief executive of Addison Capital, which provides wealth-management services to wealthy individuals and institutions. The Yardley, Pa., firm has about $500 million in assets under management in equities and fixed income portfolios.
Church said the rapidly evolving economic situation in Europe, and the threat of an economic collapse there "is obviously a risk to the economy since it will cause a slowdown to (U.S.-based) multinationals," but it's not driving his firm's decision-making nor prompted a wave of concerns from his clients. "One of the things that fascinates us is that although the markets are being driven by headlines and the conversation from Europe, if you tune that out and look around here at home, our markets have held up. And if you look at our economic data, it's been pretty decent." Driven by events in Europe, the S&P 500 is up a lackluster 1.9% this year in one of the most volatile performances in a decade. Still, many markets in Europe are down by more than 10%. But Church said there's a disconnect between the average individual's perceptions and the economic reality. "The hard data, retail sales or initial jobless claims, look comparatively good, while the soft data, which comes from (consumer) surveys, doesn't look so hot. "So you have to ask yourself: 'Which one is going to be wrong,' " Church said. "We think it's a situation of: 'Watch what they're doing and not what they're saying,' " when it comes to the perceptions of the general public toward the economy. For example, based on a survey, consumer confidence slumped to a two-year low in October, but that was soon followed by a big jump in retail sales to a new record over the Thanksgiving weekend. "That's not to say this is the greatest (economic) environment here, but it's not as bad as some people are saying," Church said. Goldman Sachs' has a similar view to that of Church in that U.S. stocks with a strong domestic presence have more upside potential than those that rely more on international sales for their revenue. "Policy and economic risks are highest in Europe and we advocate owning U.S. companies with domestic sales exposure," its research note said. Goldman's top picks include Apple (AAPL), Oracle (ORCL), EMC (EMC) and Synchronoss Technologies (SNCR). In light of that, here are Addison Capital's seven top stock picks for 2012: