Toronto-based portfolio manager Dorothy-Anna Orser is ready for a correction.
Ms. Orser, who is senior investment adviser at Orser Neuhaus at Echelon Wealth Partners, is holding about 20 per cent cash right now and has a buying list handy. While she has some "nervousness" about how frothy the markets are right now, she's bullish long term. Ms. Orser, who helps to manage $165-million in assets under management, targets a return of 8 per cent to 10 per cent and has seen average returns of about 15 per cent in her firm's moderate growth portfolio year-to-date. The Globe and Mail recently spoke with Ms. Orser about her outlook on the markets and the social media stock she let get away.
What concerns are you hearing from investors today?
What investors often ask these days is: "Do I see the market continuing to climb, and should we be taking a profit?" Some stocks, such as Apple, can look expensive but … there are still a lot of opportunities. If we like something we'll buy 2 per cent, if it's expensive, and if there's a correction – and there always will be a correction – we would add to it if the fundamentals are still there. Some investors are also worried about a recession, which I don't see happening.
Describe your investing style right now.
I'm now looking for companies more in the value space. For the past couple of years, I was a GARP [growth at a reasonable price] manager. To me, that's what active management is … being what you need to be, depending on where the market is. That's not to say we aren't still buying growth companies.
What's your take on where the markets are heading in the short term?
I'm bullish. I think there will be corrections. Nothing goes straight up. In my accounts, I've been, on average, 10 [per cent] to 20 per cent in cash over the past few years. Every time I buy something, I end up selling something else. That tells you I still have some nervousness, even though I'm bullish on the market. I tell my clients … "if there are things you like you want to keep your buying list handy and revisit that when there's a correction."
What have you been buying lately?
I like REITs [real estate investment trusts], technology and I have invested in some covered calls. Some of the REITs we've been buying lately include Pure Industrial REIT and Dream Global REIT, to name just two. In tech, some stocks we've been buying include Open Text and Glance Technologies. We've also been buying ZWB [BMO Covered Call Canadian Banks ETF]. The only Canadian bank I'm buying right now is TD Bank. We are still buying insurance companies, in particular, Manulife. We've also been buying TXF [First Asset Tech Giants Covered Call ETF]. We also own a lot of Apple and Google.
What have you been selling?
Because we've had so many gains, we've been taking some profits. For example, we just sold Canadian National Railway after it reported disappointing earnings. We started buying it in 2012. Our average purchase price was about $35 and we sold it for just under $98. We also took some profits recently on Sun Life Financial, Thomson Reuters and Quebecor. They got expensive.
What's the one stock you wish you bought?
Facebook. I bought it when it first went public [in 2012 at $38 (U.S.)]. We sold it at about $27. [It's currently trading around $175]. It's on my "want" list.
This interview has been edited and condensed.