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Worried about your portfolio going south? Don't worry, advises Tom Del Zoppo. HSBC's head of cash equities for the Americas thinks that's the best place for at least part of it to go.
He's especially enthusiastic about Brazil.
"They really have everything that the world is consuming right now," he told CNBC, referring to Brazil's abundance of agricultural land, energy and metals. "Tie that along with getting investment-grade by S&P a little bit sooner than everyone expected, and it starts to come together."
He thinks Brazil has the edge on Mexico because of Mexico's close ties with a slowing U.S. economy, and because Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has managed to separate his country's social programs from its economy.
Del Zopporecommends that investors sell Citigroup and buy Brazilian oil producer Petrobras.
"I think you can just pull up a chart and look at Citi versus Petrobras, and you tell me what the chart looks like," he said.
A subtle change in the technological climate is clearing the skies over a couple of high-tech firms and their stocks, according to David Lutz. The Stifel, Nicolaus Capital Markets managing director told CNBC how it works.
Recent gains in the markets have changed the valuation picture on a lot of stocks, but Jefferies managing director Art Hogan is constantly on the lookout for bargains, and he told CNBC about some stocks that are still steals.
"It's one of the things that doesn't get looked at a lot; it's an industrial name; people look at the cycle and say it's too early to get into the industrials, (but) this is one of the leaders, and I think you can buy it now."
"If you want to use less power and have more applications on whatever your device happens to be, OEMs are going to them. They're outsourcing to Broadcom, and they're eating everybody's lunch, especially in portabilty and cellular."
Charles River Laboratories:
"Biotech, especially pharma, outsourcing most of the R&D work that they're doing, and Charles River's been the leader in that; the last couple of quarters, they've turned the corner here."
"They actually go out to the deep water Gulf and out to Brazil, where, as energy prices get higher and higher, we go deeper and deeper into the Gulf, drilling becomes more profitable, and these guys supply everything that goes out there."
"If you look at natural gas, which hasn't gotten as much conversation as oil, Ultra Petro is a play right there."
Jim Hardesty thinks an investor can come roaring out of the economic slowdown on a Hog.
Harley Davidson is this dividend-conscious financial management executive's top pick.
"As we come out of this slowdown, I think that stock is going to perform well," he told CNBC. "They did raise their dividend by just over 10 percent."
The motorcycle maker's latest numbers reflected the slowdown, but the president and market strategist of Hardesty Capital Management is not discouraged.
"The is one of their first declines in earnings they’ve experienced since they’ve been a publicly traded company," he said. "They have been affected by the slowdown in high-end retail, which is where they are in the United States, but their overseas business is now growing at almost 20 percent a year."
Muscular retail sales figures encouraged traders -- as the dollar slips again and crude oil continues to soar. How should investors read these ostensibly contradictory signs?
Erik Ristuben of Russell Investment Group and Holly Isdale of Lehman Brothers offered their sector insights to CNBC.
"Markets are looking through the short-term data," said Ristuben. "The Russell 1000 [index] is about 9 percent off its bottom in early March."
Is the U.S. economy in a recession? Heading for a recession? "No" on both counts, says Frank Cappiello, the chairman and managing director of Montgomery Brothers, Cappiello. And he thinks it's time to think about buying stocks.
"It's certainly a slowdown, and it may be a recession in the financials -- but there are no indications that we're about to enter a recession," he told CNBC.
He advises holding off on buying financials, preferring oil companies and retailers.
"We like Wal-Mart there, and Costco," he said. "Take your pick, either one."
He's impressed by Wal-Mart's April sales figures, which beat analysts' expectations.
For foreign investments, he points to Brazil.
"Brazil has changed in the past three years,' he said. "People don't realize that, effectively, we have a whole new country in a big area of Latin America."
The alternative-energy sector is as good as gold, according to Walter Price, portfolio manager of the Allianz RCM Tech Fund. His fund is up an average of 18.1 percent per year over the last five years.
With all signs pointing to still more expensive fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, Price's top pick is First Solar.
"First Solar is the lowest-cost producer of solar energy," he told CNBC. "I think they're putting pressure on the whole industry to catch them."
He sees some potential obstacles being scaled, as solar energy continues to be developed.
"Solar still has to have government subsidies to get down the learning curve and get to scale," he said. "I think within a few years, actually, solar will be competitive with other forms of distributed energy."
Price also likes MEMC Electronic Materials.
"This is a company that is providing silicon, and they've had some start-up problems in their plant, but their plant's about to come onstream," he said.
"People have underestimated how fast the costs of silicon are going up, with the cost of steel and the cost of reactor vessels going up, I think MEMC's going to be in a very good position, having silicon at the right price at the right time."
Paul Fremont, Jefferies & Co. Managing Director
-Likes the "dirty coal" names.
-Many of these companies will be able to pass through higher costs of coal through higher power prices.
-Very significant cash flow gains coming because of soaring energy prices.
Dynegy , NRG Energy , Allegheny Energy .