Citigroup Going Higher, Artio Manager Says

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Citigroup (C) shares have quintupled since the stock-market low in March 2009, and there's more room to run, says Dimitre Genov, portfolio manager for the Artio Global Equity Fund (JGEIX).

The mutual fund, which gets three stars from fund-tracker Morningstar ( MORN), has risen 16% over the past year, in Morningstar's 54th percentile for world stock funds. Over the past five years, the Artio Global Equity Fund has returned an average of 3% annually, putting it in the middle of the pack.

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.

How much higher do you think Citigroup shares can rise?

Genov: We certainly think there is more upside in the stock. And the stock is not expensive. It's trading at a discount to book and a slight premium to tangible book value. So we think there is more upside. We see the economy improving in the United States, and the company is very well positioned to take advantage of that. It's also got a lot of growth left in emerging markets. There is a turnaround going on that is bearing fruit so we definitely think there are more opportunities for the company to increase value for its shareholders.

Like Citigroup, Google (GOOG) is a top 10 holding. Is Google more than just search?

Genov: Search is the dominant part of their business, for sure, but they are trying to enter other areas. We have seen that Android is taking a lot of market share already in smartphones. They will be able to capitalize on that going forward. YouTube certainly was an acquisition that was initially misunderstood by the investment community and now it is showing that is profitable and growing.

Sticking with technology, why is Qualcomm (QCOM) one of your largest holdings?

Genov: We like the smartphone theme. We think the smartphone market is under-penetrated. Only a small percentage of mobile subscribers currently have smartphones, so we think there is more growth left there. Qualcomm is a direct play on that. Its chips go into most of the mobile devices, whether they are tablets or smartphones, so we think there are more opportunities for the company to improve.

BHP Billiton (BHP) was unable to acquire Potash Corp. (POT). What do you think the next big move will be?

Genov: If you look at the company's mission statement, they are looking for quality assets that have long life reserves and low costs. They have certain areas that they focus on, and certainly agriculture is one of them. They are also focused on energy, and we think that could possibly be an area of interest to them.

Also in the commodity mining sector, Rio Tinto (RIO) is well-represented in your fund. What are your expectations for this company?

Genov: We like Rio Tinto for a number of reasons. They are a big exporter of iron ore and thermal coal and copper. These are areas that we are excited about. The company is very profitable. It had a large debt burden but they were able to pay it off with their cash flow. Basically, we think they will be able to capitalize on the rise in the price of metals.

-- Reported by Gregg Greenberg in New York.

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