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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:

Macatawa Bank (MCBC NASDAQ)

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After about six years without paying a dividend, it has been reinstituted at $0.02 a quarter. That will likely increase in the not-too-distant future, which could help fuel the stock price. The bank's capitalization ratios are amongst the best in its history.

Cascade Bancorp (CACB NASDAQ)

Cascade is growing as it took over Home Federal Bancorp. That jumps the number of branches to 40 from 28. Regulators would only allow this deal if they felt that Cascade was in fine form. Insiders own over 38 per cent.

First Busey (BUSE NASDAQ)

In May, Busey determined that it was well capitalized enough to raise the dividend to a nickel a quarter from four cents. BauerFinancial, arguably the rating leader in this field awarded the bank a 5-Star Superior, the top level going.

Past Picks: June 28, 2013

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

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Then: $9.45; Now: $15.52; Total return: +77.17%

AgJunction Inc. (AJX TSX)

Then: $0.95; Now: $0.77; Total return: -18.95%

+ Cash

Total return average: +19.41%

Market outlook:

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There is the saying, "Don't bet against the trend." In today's case, I won't and will be looking to ride with the strong momentum. But I am watching for stocks that have hit their Initial Sell Target to dump because of course, the trend will change.

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