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Three top stock picks from Contra The Heard’s Benj Gallander

Benj Gallander of the Contra Guys.

Tibor Kolley/The Globe & Mail

Benj Gallander is President, Contra The Heard Investment Letter. His focus is contrarian investing.

Top Picks:

First United Corp. (FUNC NASDAQ)

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This small regional bank, based in Oakland, Maryland, is another that had difficulties during the recession. It seems to be recovering nicely with good capitalization ratios and a stock price well below book value. Prior to the recession it paid a dividend of $0.195 quarterly. Currently it does not have a payout but that will likely be changed before the end of 2016. Initial Sell Target: $21.24

Harmony Gold Corp. (HMY NYSE)

Harmony is a large South African company that is managing to reduce costs. Management is an experienced, prudent crew who are adapting to the new gold environment, both due to price of the shiny metal and the increased militancy of some unions in South Africa. Initial Sell Target: $16.14

Capstone Infrastructure (CSE TSX)

As anticipated, Capstone recently came to terms with Ontario Power Generation for its Cardinal plant. This adds more certainty to the company's revenue and its distribution, which is a fat $0.30 annually. Recent quarterly results echoed the enterprise's improving condition. It could be a takeover candidate in this consolidating sector. Initial Sell Target: $8.74

Past Picks: June 28, 2013

Orange SA (ORAN NASDAQ) Formerly France Telecom ADS (FTE NYSE)

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Then: $9.45; Now: $16.40 +73.55%; Total return: +79.49%

AgJunction Inc. (AJX TSX)

Then: $0.95; Now: $0.95 0.00%; Total return: 0.00%

+ Cash

Total return average: +26.50%

Market outlook:

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Though the media and public have been constant hand-wringers over the past couple of years, this has actually been a relatively stable period. Interest rates have barely budged, currencies have not fluctuated widely, commodity prices have stayed within a relatively narrow range and growth has been stable. Inflation has been tame and deflation mostly a myth. Meanwhile stock markets have been pushing ahead nicely and the VIX is so calm as to worry many people. Investors should enjoy the sunshine through the summer rather than worry their lives away.

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