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NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- The upside for the liquidity-driven market created by the
Federal Reserve's easing policies may be limited, but there are still opportunities for savvy stockpickers in names like
Intel(INTC - Get Report) and
Yamana Gold(AUY - Get Report), says Mark Spellman, portfolio manager for the
Value Line Income & Growth Fund (VALIX).
The $303 million fund, which garners 4 stars from fund-rater
Morningstar, has returned 12.4% in the past year.
TheStreet's Fund Manager Five Spot, where top fund managers give their best stock picks and views on the market in a five-question format.
Are you a bull or a bear right now?Spellman: I think we are finally moving away from the purely liquidity-driven market we saw in the months leading up to the QE3 announcement in September. Stocks consistently rallied leading up to that because the market was perceived as "can't lose" -- the economy and corporate earnings perform well, then stocks go up. The economy and corporate earnings perform poorly, then the Fed will bail us out with massive liquidity, and stocks go up. Bottom line -- be long stocks no matter what. As we have seen this earnings period, we are back to a more fundamentally-driven market. Earnings reports have been scrutinized and bad news is bad news for the share prices again.
With the run-up in stock prices pre-QE3, valuation levels were getting extended so any disappointment in earnings was exacerbated on the downside. You saw this especially in tech, industrials and cyclicals. Generally speaking, I think we have another 5% or so risk to the downside this earnings period before I get more constructive. I see the economy sputtering here in what I see as a mid-cycle slowdown. I don't see a "sky is falling" scenario though at this point.
Based on that outlook, what is your top stock pick?Spellman: Although it's a contrarian name, and somewhat controversial, I would have to say
Intel is my top stock selection right now. We could talk about the bear case for days and a number of tech analysts would probably call it a value trap after its last earnings report. However, let's take a look at the positives. You have a stock selling at around 10x next year's estimated EPS, which have been lowered by the way, and its dividend has been and should continue to be steadily raised. It now yields a utility-like 4.1% with a less than 40% payout ratio on next year's earnings.