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Three top stock picks from Avenue Investment’s Paul Harris

Paul Harris is partner and portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management. His focus is on North American and global equities.

Top Picks:

Deere & Co. (DE NYSE)

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We see Deere as well positioned to benefit from long term trends toward increased crop production and construction demand. The stock is cheap, trading at 11.5 times earnings, has a dividend yield of 2.8 per cent and trades at price to book value of 2.8 times.

Target Corp. (TGT NYSE)

Target operates general merchandise discount stores in North America. The stock has suffered lately over its expansion into Canada and the security breach of their credit card information. The company has a new CEO and new president of its Canadian division. We feel many of the problems seem to behind the company and with the continued positive economic growth in the U.S. we think the stock looks cheap. It trades at 16.9 times earnings and has a dividend yield of 3.6 per cent and book value of 2.2 times.

Barclays PLC (BCS NYSE)

Barclays is a global financial services provider engaged in retail banking, credit cards, wholesale banking, investment banking and wealth management. It trades at 0.7 times book value, with a yield of 1.9 per cnet and trades at 8 times 2015 earnings.

Past Picks: Aug. 29, 2013

Regions Financial (RF NYSE)

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Then: $9.49; Now: $9.90 +4.32%; Total return: +5.76%

Leon's Furniture (LNF TSX)

Then: $12.61; Now: $14.95 +18.56%; Total return: +22.00%

TD Bank (TD TSX) 2-for-1 stock split on Feb. 3, 2014

Then: $89.93; Now: $56.90 +26.54%; Total return: +31.10%

Total return average: +19.62%

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Market outlook:

Global stocks should continue their slow long-term "grind" higher due to low interest rates, high corporate probability and continued global GDP expansion. Concern comes from emerging markets which have a continued lack of visibility. Bond yields will continue to stay low for the short and medium term as central banks withdraw monetary liquidity slowly. We think the opportunity is increasing in companies that can achieve good total return – a good dividend yield accompanied by strong balance sheets and high cash flow cover. In a low inflation environment these stock are likely to remain attractive.

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