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Three top picks from Contra The Heard’s Benj Gallander

Benj Gallander of the Contra Guys.

Tibor Kolley/The Globe & Mail

Benj Gallander is president of Contra The Heard Investment Letter. His focus is on contrarian investing.

Top Picks:

Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. (HMY NYSE)

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Harmony continues to cut costs. The skilled management team is making the necessary moves to return to consistent profitability. But production costs remain about $75 above the current teetering price of gold, which likely means losses in the short-term. As with all companies in this sector, this is a difficult time.

Iteris Inc. (ITI NYSE AMX) - (ITI – A)

This traffic management solutions company is profitable year after year. Insiders own almost 28 per cent. The company has zero debt. The danger is that the company fell out of compliance with NYSE market regulations and is working "diligently" to regain compliance.

Cash (third pick)

Past Picks: Nov. 11, 2013 ** "Now" figures are intra-day

Macatawa Bank (MCBC NASDAQ)

Then: $4.77; Now: $4.87 +2.10%; Total return: +3.31%

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First Busey (BUSE NADAQ)

Then: $5.55; Now: $5.68 +2.34%; Total return: +4.87%

1-800-Flowers (FLWS NASDAQ)

Then: $4.83; Now: $8.25 +70.81%; Total return: +70.81%

Total return average: +26.33%

Market outlook:

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Until the past couple of weeks, North American markets have been as stable as stable can be with lovely upside and few jerks downwards. Naturally this cannot continue and volatility will increase. The "easy" gains have been made and investors, who were nervous during stability, will have more reason to fret.

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