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Buybacks top dividends: Bill Nygren

Investors have been overpaying for dividend stocks while undervaluing companies that are buying back shares, Oakmark Fund's Bill Nygren said Tuesday.

"One of the things we think investors have gone a little excessive on is bidding up companies that pay high yields, good income generators," he said.

"And we think it's interesting that companies that have been large share re-purchasers — effectively, it should be the same to an investor whether the money comes back as money or share repurchasers. But those stocks aren't as expensive, so we like the big share repurchasers."

(Read more: Trading the 'summer doldrums pullback')

On CNBC's "Fast Money," Nygren, who has $10 billion in assets under management, said that his top sector picks were financials, industrials and technology.

Nygren also added that he took a longer-term approach to investing, with an average holding period of about five years.

"Investing's not supposed to be fun," he said.

Nygren said that Bank of America, JPMorgan and Capital One were attractive at current levels.

"What we see here is really low P/Es relative to the market and relative to their own history," he said. "Most of these companies sell at about eight times the level that we think they'll earn after the legacy mortgage costs stop going through the income statement."

(Read more: 'I'd stay the course': Vanguard's Jack Bogle)

Nygren said that the return on equity for financials were more positive for financial stocks, which were trading at a price-to-book level 20 percent lower.

"That's an example, we think, of investors overpaying for high current yield and not paying enough for expected earnings recovery," he said.

Three of Nygren's top stock picks were Apache, DirecTV and Halliburton.

Apache was selling assets for "close to full asset value" and buying back shares, he noted, while Halliburton was making a tender offer to repurchase 4 to 5 percent of its outstanding shares.

"Reducing that denominator is a really nice way to grow earnings per share much faster than net income is growing," he said.

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro.

— CNBC's Stephanie Landsman contributed research to this report. Follow her on Twitter: @StephLandsman.

Trader disclosure: On Aug. 20, 2013, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Steve Grasso is funds long GM; Steve Grasso is long BA; Steve Grasso is long BAC; Steve Grasso is long BBRY; Steve Grasso is long GDX; Steve Grasso is long GOOG; Steve Grasso is long HERO; Steve Grasso is long HPQ; Steve Grasso is long MHY; Steve Grasso is long LNG; Steve Grasso is long MJNA; Steve Grasso is long NVIV; Steve Grasso is long PFE; Steve Grasso is long QCOM; Steve Grasso is long S; Steve Grasso is long ASTM; Steve Grasso is long POT; Steve Grasso is long DECK; Steve Grasso is long DHI; Paul Hickey is long AAPL; Paul Hickey is long BAC; Paul Hickey is long INTC; Paul Hickey is long NFLX; Karen Finerman is long AAPL; Karen Finerman is long BAC; Karen Finerman is long C; Karen Finerman is long JPM; Karen Finerman is long TGT; Karen Finerman is long GOOG; Karen Finerman is long M; Karen Finerman is long JCP; Brian Kelly is short US dollar; Brian Kelly is short Nikkei; Brian Kelly is long T-Notes Futures; Brian Kelly is long Canadian Dollar.

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