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Stan Wong.

Stan Wong is vice-president & portfolio manager at Macquarie Private Wealth. His focus is North American large caps and ETFs.

Top Picks:

Bank of Nova Scotia

Revenues have grown steadily over the past several years at Canada's third largest bank, fuelled in part by numerous acquisitions. Last year's purchase of ING Direct Canada added nearly two million accounts and $30-billion of deposits to the bank. BNS has underperformed most of the big five Canadian banks year-to-date mainly due to its exposure to the emerging markets. However, with the global economy recovering, the bank's exposure to international markets will be a positive attribute in the years ahead. BNS currently yields a 4.1-per-cent dividend that is expected to grow by 9-10 per cent annually over the next few years.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.

Michael Kors designs, produces and markets accessories and apparel globally in the affordable-luxury segment. The Michael Kors name is rapidly gaining brand recognition and market share momentum in the U.S. and Europe. Indeed, the international opportunity for KORS is still in the early stages with just only 11 per cent of its revenues coming from overseas. At a PEG ratio of just over 1.0x, the stock trades at a cheaper valuation than its main competitor Coach Inc. For growth investors, KORS is a compelling story.

Toyota Motor Corp.

Toyota Motor is the world's largest vehicle manufacturer based on sales and production volume. Toyota has renewed its global brand with new and refreshed vehicles that should boost global volumes. Growth in the emerging markets, higher industry volume and new vehicle launches are catalysts for the stock. Toyota currently trades at a modest 11x forward price-earnings multiple and is attractive relative to its global peers.

Past Picks: November 7, 2012

Home Depot Inc.
Then: $61.99
Now: $75.58
Total return: +24.42 per cent

General Electric Co.
Then: $21.13
Now: $24.32
Total return: +18.96 per cent

Joy Global Inc.
Then: $59.43
Now: $52.54
Total return: -10.47 per cent

Total return average: +10.97 per cent

Market outlook:

With an end to the U.S. government shutdown and a technical debt default being averted, equity markets should be able to grind higher over the near-term. Historically positive seasonal tendencies in the several months ahead should also provide an additional tailwind for stocks. Of course, continued signs of improvement in the global economy and stronger corporate earnings are needed for equities to sustain moves to new highs. One possible silver lining of the 16-day government shutdown is that the Federal Reserve may adopt an even slower pace to tapering its asset-purchase programs than previously thought. In our portfolios, more economically-sensitive cyclical stocks are favoured as we reduce our weighting to more defensive and interest-rate sensitive stocks. Generally speaking, U.S. equities continue to look more attractive compared to Canadian equities while European equities have come into focus given the region's stabilizing economic outlook.