(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:

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Qualcomm ( QCOM) is the developer and owner of code division multiple access technology, a communications standard used in wireless networks. It has leveraged that expertise into the semiconductor market, where it is a key supplier of chips to wireless handset makers and also generates royalty revenue by licensing its intellectual property.

Church said the company is "in a sweet spot as a mobility (products supplier) in that it's product-agnostic. It doesn't matter if it's an Android or Apple mobile device, Qualcomm has exposure to them all" as the company has ownership of a technology that makes them the go-to company in portable communications. "They have a technology lead that makes them sort of the new Intel ( INTC)."

Qualcomm continues to diversify, announcing Monday that it's boosting its wireless health-care efforts, which will help customers connect their home medical-monitoring devices to an online database and access the data from their cellphones, PCs and other devices.

Qualcomm shares are up 12% this year and have an average annual return of 21% over three years, resulting in a $92 billion market value. The shares carry a 1.58% dividend yield.

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Waste Management ( WM) runs over 300 landfills nationwide, making it the industry's dominant player at a time when the number of domestic landfills is shrinking due to strict environmental regulations.

Church said "trash collection is a great non-cyclical business" and so avoids sharp downturns while providing steady cash flow. He expects the company will soon raise its dividend to 5% from its current 4.31% yield.

Church adds that the company has another potential for growth beyond its core business as it is working to convert trash to energy, and monetize other waste products it collects through recycling.

Its shares are down 11% this year, but over the past three years have an average annual return of 6%, resulting in a market value of $14 billion.


Alere ( ALR) develops and markets consumer and professional point-of-care diagnostic devices. The firm's devices target cardiology, oncology, drug abuse and women's health-care sectors.

Church says "we think this is where the future of health care is migrating to -- the use of a monitoring device from home. It's keeping people out of hospitals or the doctor's office" through the use of wireless communications on medical monitoring devices. Just as everything else is going mobile, this is mobile health care."

Alere's shares have lost 37% this year, but have a three-year average annual return of 12%, resulting in a market value of $2 billion.

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News Corp. ( NWSA) is a media conglomerate run by Rupert Murdoch. Its empire spans the globe and includes cable-TV programming, where it gets half of its revenue. Businesses include the Fox broadcast network in the U.S. and 27 local TV stations, as well as an international direct-broadcast satellite division. The company also publishes newspapers in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.

Church said that "despite massive negative headlines" hurting the stock due to a still-unfolding newspaper telephone snooping scandal in England, "there's tremendous asset value underneath this stock. It's a classic value stock and will continue to realize significant appreciation in the next 12 months."

Its shares are up 23% this year and have a three-year average annual return of 30%, resulting in a market value of $45 billion. Its shares carry a projected dividend yield of 1.07%.


FMC Corp. ( FMC) makes a range of chemicals, including phosphates and soda ash, and they can be used as food additives, in agricultural pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

Church says the company's manufacture of high-grade lithium is a growing part of its business. The chemical is used in batteries that can be used to power everything from a mobile phone or other communication device to electric cars, which provides "high potential for growth," Church says.

FMC's shares are up 6% this year and over 10 years have an average annual return of 19.5%.

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Visa ( V) manages a group of global payment card brands, which it licenses to financial institutions that issue cards to their customers. The firm acts as the payment processor by facilitating the authorization, clearing and settlement of transactions on its proprietary networks.

Church said Visa has a "great business model and really are a technology company and not a credit card company. The beautiful thing is that with the growing use of mobile devices in (financial) transactions, it's like a toll booth on the global superhighway."

Visa's only real competitor is the bigger MasterCard ( MA), but Church says Visa is cheaper. "They are a duopoly" in their industry.

Visa shares are up 37% this year and have a three-year average annual return of 22%. They have a market value of $77 billion.


Statoil ASA ( STO) is a Norwegian oil company that sells as an American Depositary Receipt (ADR). Norway retains a 67% stake, and most of its oil and gas production is offshore. Operations also include oil refineries, natural gas pipelines and retail fuel outlets.

Church says "it owns the largest gas pipeline going into the eurozone. And it pays a big dividend. They're looking great going into next year."

Statoil has a market value of $82 billion and its projected dividend yield is 3.64%. Its shares are up 12% this year and over 10 years they have an average annual return of 18%.

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>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 7 U.S. Stock Picks for 2012 From Addison Capital portfolio on Stockpickr.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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