You have to give analysts at Raymond James full credit for bravery. The research team has updated its list of Canadian stock picks for 2014 – and after back-to-back market-beating years in 2013 and 2012 and an impressive 10-year average return of 16.7 per cent, they're going with some far-from-obvious choices.
Last year's picks delivered a return of 19.9 per cent, thanks to standouts such as Aecon Group Inc., Canfor Corp., Open Text Corp. and Savanna Energy Services Corp.
But rather than sticking with the same lineup – where's the fun in that? – Raymond James has shredded most of the 2013 list. So say goodbye to the likes of Cameco Corp. and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., and hello to these 11 stocks, including two gold producers and a few energy stocks. That's right, the Best Picks 2014 is hardly predictable.
Using credit cards to collect rewards has become a big business – and Aimia, the parent of Aeroplan, is nicely positioned with partnerships with Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and American Express. Raymond James sees a 20 per cent upside.
Allied Properties REIT
Real Estate Investment Trusts have been struggling with higher interest rates this year – but there's no reason to abandon high-quality names with strong balance sheets, especially given that the economic outlook is far from certain. Upside: About 13 per cent, plus a 4.4 per cent yield.
B2 Gold Corp.
Gold producers were walloped in 2013 with the sliding price of gold, and B2 was no exception, tumbling some 38 per cent. So why persist with this pick, the sole holdover from 2013? Raymond James points to the company's consistent ability to deliver on production and cost guidance, and its exploration success. Upside: 94 per cent.
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP
What better way to gain exposure to the global infrastructure market, and get a yield of 4.5 per cent? "BIP's infrastructure assets are vital to the global economy and enjoy strong competitive positions," says Raymond James. Upside: 22 per cent.
The bullish take on Canadian oil producers is no longer so obvious, given their lacklustre performance. Raymond James believes growth is compelling and outlook for free cash flow is encouraging. They especially like Cenovus' expansions at Christina Lake and Foster Creek projects. Upside: 26 per cent.
Delphi Energy Corp.
The oil and gas producer has been doing well with its Bigstone Montney shale gas operations in Alberta, but the potential is still great. "The equity prospects of an E&P company are the product of the strength of its core projects' marginal economics and the size of its drilling inventory. Delphi frankly stands out as an exceptional potential opportunity in this regard." Upside: 59 per cent.
Eldorado Gold Corp.
Oh dear, another beaten-up gold producer suggests that Raymond James isn't shy about risk. However, they like Eldorado's strong balance sheet and it's ability to produce gold at $550 (U.S.) an ounce. The company should be ale to maintain spending estimates even if gold slips as low as $1,100 an ounce. Upside: 90 per cent.
Combine the apparel-maker's planned new manufacturing hub in either Nicaragua or Costa Rica, its management expertise, cost-cutting efforts and favourable cotton prices and Gildan looks poised for a good year. Upside: 13 per cent.
Husky Energy Inc.
"Husky is undergoing a remarkable transition in its business from a history of disappointing operational performance, lacklustre returns and limited, if any, growth to one of consistent operational execution with returns and a growth profile that can now compete with its industry peers." Upside: 29 per cent.
International Forest Products Ltd.
Get ready for a "lumber super-cycle" where rising production volumes meet a long period of strong lumber prices, thanks to a recovering U.S. housing market and healthy exports. And Interfor should capitalize on it by spending some of its cash on acquisitions. Upside: 28 per cent.
Whitecap Resources Inc.
"We believe Whitecap is one of the best positioned mid-cap oil producers across the Canadian energy landscape. Although the stock has had an impressive run during 2013, we believe this momentum will continue into 2014 and continued success in its plays will be the driving force behind share appreciation." Upside: 7 per cent.