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Globe Wealth Five stocks Canadian wealth managers are buying amid the market chaos

Business people are seen at the intersection of King and Bay Streets in Toronto on Oct. 15, 2014.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Tuesday was another wild day for stock markets, with Canadian and U.S. indexes rising, falling and then rising again.

For many high net-worth advisors and fund managers, though, it was a day they've been waiting for a while. Finally, after two years of big gains and rising valuations – the S&P 500 was up nearly 50 per cent between February 2016 and last Friday – there are businesses to buy at a discount.

"Now's the time," said Barry Schwartz, chief investment officer at Baskin Financial, a Toronto-based investment firm. "Go through the market right now and you'll find a lot of stocks that have pulled back by 10 per cent. It's something we welcome."

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While opportunities abound in a selloff, some stocks look more attractive than others. Here are five companies that some high net-worth focused advisors are buying for their clients today.

Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q)

Since Friday, the Cupertino-based tech giant's stock has fallen by about 2.8 per cent from US$167 per share to US$163. Couple that with a near 6-per-cent decline in January – its stock price hit a record high of US$178 last month – and this hot stock suddenly looks affordable again.

Both Mr. Schwartz and Lorne Zeiler, a wealth advisor with TriDelta Financial, added to their positions on Tuesday. Mr. Schwartz thinks it has plenty of long-term potential left and the $252-billion it says it could repatriate to the U.S. will benefit investors.

"We expect them to use that cash for significant share buybacks and dividend increases," he said. "And maybe some M&A, too."

AbbVie Inc. (ABBV-N)

Another stock that's taken a hit over the last few days is this Chicago-based biopharma company. It's down about 4.3 per cent, in part because of Donald Trump's State of the Union declaration that he wants to cap drug prices in the U.S.

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Still, Mr. Zeiler thinks it's a good buy. It's main product, arthritis drug Humira, continues to be popular, but, more importantly, it has some important lung cancer and arthritis drugs in its pipeline. It's also expanding into emerging markets and pays a decent 2.6-per-cent yield.

"This is a solid company and it will benefit from tax reform in the U.S." he said.

Citigroup Inc. (C-N)

One sector that should benefit from rising rate hikes is financials – and U.S. banks in particular, says Allan Small, a senior wealth advisor with Holliswealth. His favourite? New York's Citigroup, which is less expensive than some of other big name banks.

Since Feb. 2, it's fallen by 5.5 per cent, but it did recoup some of those gains, climbing by 2 per cent on Tuesday. Still, at US$74 a share, it's off the US$80 high it hit in late January.

Going forward, Small thinks banks will benefit from tax reform, rising rates and Citigroup is also growing globally.

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"Banks will benefit from here," he said.

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM-N)

If any company can withstand the ups and downs of the market, it's IBM, which has been in business for more than 100 years. While it's not the same company as it was in the 1990s, it's future is bright, says Mr. Small, which is why he bought more of it during the dip.

He's bullish on its transition to the cloud and thinks its artificial intelligence business – led by supercomputer Watson – will propel the stock going forward. In January, the company announced that revenues rose for the first time in 23 quarters, a sign that its transition may be working, and at 23 times earnings it's cheaper than some of its cloud computing peers.

"We're looking for names that haven't accelerated as much as other companies," he said. "And that's IBM – a cheap stock that we can hopefully ride higher."

Brookfield Asset Management (BAM.A-T)

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This Toronto-based asset manager has long been a favourite of Mr. Schwartz's, so when the stock started to fall on Friday, the fund manager began adding to his position.

While the stock dropped by 3.2 per cent between Friday and Tuesday, it's down about 9.5 per cent year-to-date, partly because it experienced a 23-per-cent gain in 2017.

Mr. Schwartz likes this company because it owns real assets, such buildings and toll roads, it pays a 1.45-per-cent dividend yield, its compound rate of return over the last 20 years is in the mid-single digits, and it has plenty of money to buy more.

Plus, if market volatility continues, it may be able to purchase assets at cheaper price than it has been able to over the last couple of years, he says.

"Dislocation gives them an opportunity to pounce," he said.

If stocks continue to decline, or if the market remains volatile, Mr. Zeiler, Mr. Scwartz and Mr. Small all plan to buy more businesses at what they hope is now a more reasonable price.

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"Things are much more buyable than they were," said Mr. Schwartz. "It's in a market correction when you get to trade up for quality. Pick your spots and be patient."

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