Get over taper talk. Pro offers 3 Fed-proof stocks
Though it's unclear when the Federal Reserve will begin to dial back its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program, money manager Mark Freeman on Wednesday recommended that investors look for companies that aren't dependent on Fed stimulus.
"Those are companies that can stand on their own ... from an earnings growth standpoint," said Freeman, chief investment officer of Westwood Holding Group, which has about $17.1 billion in assets under management.
(Read more: Wall Street listens for cooing of dovish Fed)
According to Freeman, companies with less exposure to the Fed will typically have three characteristics:
1) end-market development to support the top line
2) room for operational improvement to support margins
3) financial flexibility, in terms of solid balance sheets, strong free cash flow and the ability to either buyback shares or pay a dividend.
What follows are his top three "Fed-proof" picks:
Abbott Laboratories: It recently raised its dividend by 50 percent, Freeman pointed out. It also is growing in attractive markets and will increase earnings by 10 percent in 2014.
Occidental Petroleum: This company is successfully restructuring and is becoming less volatile, Freeman said, adding that it will use cash to reward shareholders.
General Electric: Margins here are improving, he said. GE is doing share buybacks, as well as demonstrating reasonable growth.
When this story was published, General Electric owned a minority stake in NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of CNBC.