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) -- John Buckingham, co-manager of the

Al Frank Fund

(VALUX) - Get Al Frank Fund Inv Report

, is betting on lesser-known


names like

United Online


as the economy begins to lift.


mutual fund

has risen 24% this year, 8 percentage points better than the

S&P 500 Index

. Over the past decade, the Al Frank Fund has returned an average of 9.2% a year, better than 95% of its

TheStreet Recommends


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Welcome to's Fund Manager Five Spot, where America's top mutual fund managers give their best stock picks in five fast and furious questions.

Are you bullish or bearish?


Provided one has a longer-term investment time horizon, I am bullish. Certainly, the chances are high that the markets will retrace some of the near-vertical advance that has taken the average stock up more than 50% from the lows. And we are not ready to declare the Great Recession over, but just in the last couple of weeks we've seen improvement in the index of leading economic indicators, GDP growth, the Federal Reserve's "beige book" of economic conditions and the jobless picture.

The economic outlook is becoming much less worse, even as many pundits are projecting only a modest, short-lived recovery with another leg down to follow as part of a "W-shaped" scenario. Still, there has been a long period of reduced capital investment by corporate America and the increased consumer savings rate has created pent up demand that should ultimately prove a boost to numerous businesses.

There's $3.6 trillion sitting in money market funds yielding next to nothing, corporate earnings have been coming in better than expected as cost-cutting efforts have improved margins and many investors seem underweight equities in their asset allocation models, so we're optimistic about the equity markets in general and the stocks we hold.

What is your top stock pick?


Our investment philosophy is based on broad portfolio diversification, so we are generally reluctant to single out one name. Having said this, our most recent addition to the Al Frank Fund was

Titan International

(TWI) - Get Titan International, Inc. Report

. Titan makes wheels and tires for off-highway vehicles used in agriculture and earth-moving endeavors.

It's an industry with a high barrier to entry.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber

(GT) - Get Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Report

, its only real competition, just announced plans to dramatically scale back off-highway operations, and is considering shuttering them forever, leaving Titan in a dominant market position.

Shares of this lowest cost, economically-sensitive operator are off by nearly 75% over the last 12 months and trade right near book value and for less than 10 times trailing earnings.

What is your top "sleeper" stock pick?


Not too many stocks boast a sustainable dividend yield equal to its price-to-earnings ratio, but that's the case with United Online, the owner of NetZero, FTD Flowers and United generates mighty cash flow from its declining dial-up Internet access business, which they think should last another 10 years. Those cash flows provide ammunition for management's growth efforts elsewhere online. It's part of a pretty compelling case that cross-marketing efforts might generate greater upside for the combined group than the units might provide alone.

What is your favorite sector?


The largest sector weight in the Al Frank Fund is in electronic technology, which offers above-average long-term growth prospects, generally healthy balance sheets and historically attractive valuations. We have often been overweight tech in periods of heightened volatility as investors' love-hate relationship with many of the names creates very attractive entry and exit points.

What sector or stock would you avoid?


Generally speaking, there are no sectors we would avoid in their entirety, but areas tied to the consumer have for the most part enjoyed solid runs in the recovery from the March 9 lows. We no longer find the broad valuations or margins of safety as attractive in the retail trade, consumer services and consumer non-durables sectors.

We've also seen some battered names climb rapidly off the canvas without any significant improvement in the underlying businesses, so a name like

International Paper

(IP) - Get International Paper Company Report

is a stock that we find to be overextended and due for a pullback.

-- Reported by Gregg Greenberg in New York


Before joining, Gregg Greenberg was a writer and segment producer for CNBC's Closing Bell. He previously worked at FleetBoston and Lehman Brothers in their Private Client Services divisions, covering high net-worth individuals and midsize hedge funds. Greenberg attended New York University's School of Business and Economic Reporting. He also has an M.B.A. from Cornell University's Johnson School of Business, and a B.A. in history from Amherst College.