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Three top stock picks from Northland’s David Cockfield

David Cockfield is managing director and portfolio manager, Northland Wealth Management. His focus is Canadian equities and ETFs.

Top Picks:

SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC-T) Last purchased in October at $50.90.

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With offices in over 50 countries, SNC is a world-class engineering and construction company. With worldwide interest in improving infrastructure the company has many opportunities for new business. The company has a wide range of services available for customers including engineering, procurement, construction, project management and financing. The company seems to have recovered from its bribery scandal, with no restrictions likely on government contracts. Recent downward revisions to earnings projections have reduced the market price by some 10 per cent, creating a buying opportunity as the stock's P/E is still low, but its growth prospects excellent.

Shopify (SH-T) Last purchased in October at $57.68.

Shopify is a newly market-listed Canadian e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa. The company allows over 300,000 merchants both large and small to set up online webstores. The webstore setup makes it easier for merchants to accept online payments, manage marketing and mailing lists, inventory and accounting. Shopify is the market leader in this space and has built partnerships with companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Visa and MasterCard.

BMO Low Volatility U.S. Equity ETF (ZLU-T) Last purchased in October at $29.28.

Low-volatility ETFs have outperformed general equity markets. This low-volatility BMO US ETF offers exposure to 100 low market-sensitive U.S. large-cap stocks. The portfolio is not static, being rebalanced mid-year and reconstituted at year-end. With a low expense ratio of 0.33 and a BETA of 0.74, this ETF does well in volatile markets. Four sectors – consumer staples, utilities, healthcare and consumer discretionaries – dominate the portfolio, totaling 77.51 per cent.

Past Picks: September 4, 2015

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS-T)

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Then: $58.48 Now: $69.32 +18.54% Total return: +25.60%

BMO Low Volatility Canadian Equity ETF (ZLB-T)

Then: $26.14 Now: $28.10 +7.49% Total return: +10.81%

ISHARES NASDAQ Biotech ETF (IBB-T)

Then: $337.10 Now: $283.69 -15.84% Total return: -15.71%

Total Return Average: +6.9%

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Market outlook:

Equity markets continue to edge higher, despite concerns about Brexit, high valuations and U.S. politics. Given our view that the U.S. economy is growing and a Fed interest rate increase is coming, equity markets will continue to climb the proverbial wall of worry. With the prospects for fixed-income markets also clouded, investor funds will likely continue to migrate into equities.

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