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4 stock picks for your fall portfolio

Pras Subramanian

As summer comes to an end and fall begins, the temptation is to think there’s some seasonal tinkering to do with current portfolio allocations. Adding more fuel to the fire is data that shows historically September has been the worst month for stocks.

Veteran stockpicker Hank Smith of Haverford says not so fast. In the attached video, Smith says there’s been no reason to change his thematic view of equity positioning: which is to balance offense (cyclicals) and defense with dividend payers and growers, because in a “no yield environment equities are the new fixed income. “

With that in mind, here are Smith’s top picks for investors right now.

Target (TGT)

“We believe this is still a very solid franchise, very solid brand, we were very encouraged this summer where they increased their dividend by 20%,” he says. “That’s a clear sign that management has confidence in the fundamentals going forward so we think the problems are fixable, [and] if you’re looking for stocks that aren’t at their 52-week or all-time high (this list is getting a little bit low) we think this is one that offers some pretty good value today.”

21st Century Fox (FOXA)

Smith believes the company was “getting a little bit tarnished because of News Corp., which they spun out,” but that “Fox has incredible brands doing very, very well, they are in the beginning of getting an upgrade in terms of debt, they are returning cash to shareholders.” Smith concludes that he’s looking at an acceleration of earning growth over the next two to three years.

TJX Companies (TJX)

“It is best in class in terms of retailing,” he says. Despite a soft Q1, the company rebounded in Q2 and Smith believes investors are getting a “great franchise… at a reasonable valuation.” In addition, Smith notes that TJX does well in any kind of economy as consumers are always looking for a deal on brand name products.

United Technologies (UTX)

Despite a pullback in the stock, Smith is still confident in Dow component (^DJI) UTX. “We’re still a big believer in emerging economies, the U.S. economy is doing well and getting a little better, so we think this is a solid franchise [to capitalize on this growth], a solid company to buy with this pullback off of its highs, and UTX clearly is a company that you can be a long-term shareholder of.”

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