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Michael Sprung is president of Sprung Investment Management Inc.
Michael Sprung is president of Sprung Investment Management Inc.

BNN Market Call

Three top stock picks from Sprung Investment’s Michael Sprung Add to ...

Michael Sprung, President of Sprung Investment Management. His focus is on Canadian Large Cap stocks.

Top Picks:

HudBay Minerals (HBM.TO)

HudBay Minerals is one of Canada’s leading producers of zinc, copper and precious metals with operations in Canada, Peru and the U.S. While the share price has appreciated significantly in the past few months, positive developments are still on the horizon that will enhance the underlying value of the company. Delayed shipments impaired sales in the latest quarter that should be made up going forward. Liquidity has been improved as the large Constancia mine is now commissioned and additional credit facilities have been obtained. Mill throughput in Constancia was constrained by liner wear in the mill that has now been repaired. Further development in Peru is a possibility. Improvements in Manitoba at Lalor and Reed are also noted.

Market Call Tonight: Top Picks from Sprung Investment's Michael Sprung (BNN Video)

Manulife (MFC.TO)

Manulife is a leading Canada-based financial services group with operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Over the past five years, the company has made tremendous strides in de-risking the balance sheet and improving profitability through increasing wealth management operations as well as redirecting the mix of products sold. Recent quarterly results disappointed, as negative policyholder experience in the firm’s U.S. Long Term Care (LTC) Business overshadowed positive developments elsewhere. Excluding the LTC hit, results from the U.S. division were in line with expectations. Canada and Asia reported favourable trends in earnings. The market reacted negatively to these results. MFC has the strongest capital base of the insurers. Going forward, we expect the problems within LTC will be dealt with and at current levels; the shares represent good value and yield 4.2 per cent.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO)

Suncor is Canada’s largest integrated oil and gas company. Suncor has a strong production base with quality long-term assets, a strong balance sheet and an integrated business model smoothing, to some extent, the cash flow from the various business segments. The latest quarter exhibited mixed results, partially as a result of the wildfires in Northern Alberta that affected both production and operating expenses. We anticipate that production will increase both organically and perhaps through acquisition. Suncor has a strong balance sheet to support and expand operations. At current levels, the stock yields 3.2 per cent.

Past Picks: September 1, 2015

Scotiabank (BNS.TO)

Then: $58.24 Now: $68.60 +17.79% Total return: +23.50%

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO)

Then: $28.36 Now: $41.22 +47.26% Total return: +51.58%

HudBay Minerals (HBM.TO)

Then: $6.26 Now: $5.69 -9.19% Total return: -8.86%

Total Return Average: +22.07%

Market outlook:

North American markets have continued their upward trajectory despite a growing list of negative geopolitical and business risks, particularly those stemming from the surprising Brexit vote in the U.K. At the same time, the global bond markets appear to be signalling an expected decline in economic activity. Governments outside of North America continue to attempt to stimulate economies through quantitative easing and proposed infrastructure spending. Over $13-trillion (U.S.) of sovereign debt is now at negative interest rates and the total continues to grow.

Politicians in North America and Europe are exploiting the public’s unrest through fear-mongering on the issues of globalization and free trade as was most evident in the Brexit vote and continues in the U.S. presidential race. As the U.S. election draws nearer, more noise from the political pundits will distract attention from the longer term fundamentals.

After a number of years of expansion fuelled by debt, we could be entering a period of deleveraging that will stall global economic growth for a period and potentially cause markets to decline and volatility to increase. Investors should concentrate on the longer term issues and be prepared to take advantage of current circumstances to invest in well financed, well managed companies.

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