Starbucks stock retreated in heavy volume after a report suggested the coffee chain's growth may be losing some steam.» Read More
Let others go after the extremes -- corporate giants and the small fry. RidgeWorth's Don Wordell is a mid-cap manager, and his four-star RidgeWorth Mid-Cap Value Fund is up an average of 12.14 percent per year over the last five years.
"We think mid-caps give you the information opportunity of small-cap investing with the liquidity of large caps," he told CNBC.
So what designates a mid-cap company? Wordell says that changes from year to year.
"It's a moving target, but most mid-cap managers stay between the 1-to-15 billion-dollar market-cap range," he explained.
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His first pick is Mattel.
The dollar is stronger, oil prices are dropping. So what's the commodity play now? Giles Keating, global head of research at Credit Suisse, has two answers:
1. Avoid gold.
2. Buy ???
Watch the video to find out Keating's strategy for exposure to the commodity space.
Commodity ETFs -- Click for headlines:
- Market Vectors Global Agribusiness
- PowerShares DB Agriculture
- United States Gasoline
- iShares Dow Jones U.S. Energy Sector Index Fund
- PowerShares DB Base Metals
Jim Hardesty sees the glass more than half full. The president, market strategist and chief economist of Hardesty Capital Management expects recovery -- and he has a few carefully-chosen names for stock investors to consider.
"I think we saw the lows on July 15," he told CNBC. "With the dollar strengthening, oil prices coming down, I think the fundamentals are in place for a decent recovery for the balance of this year."
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So where should that point investors?
Hardesty likes appliance company Whirlpool, toolmaker Black & Decker, medical device producer Stryker, and pharmaceutical giants Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck.
Fund manager Ted Moore has found some unexpected opportunities for investors in a couple of familiar Wall Street names.
His Fifth Third All-Cap Value Fund is up an average of 7.86 percent per year over the last five years.
His first pick is Viacom.
"We think that their business model is relatively low-risk," he told CNBC. "They've got a lot of content and a lot of subscription revenue, and we think they're built to withstand downturns."
Moore says Viacom's current price is an ideal entry level, and says he's been adding to his fund's position in the stock recently.
He also likes Altria.
"The dividend yield is nice at 6 percent, and they just raised it 10 percent, which, we think, signals confidence, which is a rare quality in today's market," he said. "We think that their competitive risks are very low, that their pricing power is very strong...and that their legal risks are vastly overestimated."
After spending the first half of the year as a bear, Noah Blackstein finds himself overcome by optimism. For stock-picking purposes, it's about technology.
"One of my key hesitations this year has been high commodity prices," the Dynamic Mutual Funds portfolio manager told CNBC. "Now that they've come back, I'm quite optimistic, actually, toward the end of the year...the rise of the dollar and the fall of the euro suggest that central bankers, especially in Europe, will be able to ease a little bit more."
What he does like is technology, but even there, he's selective. His list includesApple, Research In Motion, and Juniper Networks.
More CNBC Intelligence:
He does not like Google, despite the introduction of its Chrome web browser.
"I don't understand the browser, I don't understand Google's smart phones, I don't understand Google apps," he said. "The core is search; I think search has a long way to go to be good, and I think they should be focusing on that."
Blackstein is not ready to join those who say it's finally time to get into financials. He's skeptical of investment in energy and commodities, too.
"There's too much uncertainty in the financials, and there's too much emotion in the commodities and energy," he said.
- Where Are the Dow 30 Right Now?
Anxiety over Hurricane Gustav is fading, oil prices are falling, and Brent Wilsey of Wilsey Asset Management says it's time for stock-market investors to get into the action.
"This market is moving forward, and people sitting on the sidelines, they're missing some great opportunities here," he told CNBC.
So where does he find the opportunities?
"An insurance company that's a re-insurer for property and casualty...is Transatlantic Holdings, which is down 20 percent from the 52-week high," he said. "Their sales are up 6 percent year-over-year, and this company returns 40 percent of their equity."
He had praise for Holly.
"Holly Corporation is a refiner," he explained. "Their earnings are going to increase 100 percent in December 2009."
Also on his list is transportation holding company Arkansas Best.
"Down 25 percent from their 52-week high...and the mean of nine analysts are looking for earnings to increase 20 percent in 2009; the deficit's going to be very low," he said.
As Tropical Storm/Hurricane Gustav heads for America's Gulf Coast, Susquehanna Financial Group gaming, lodging, and leisure analyst Robert LaFleur says casinos in the region are better prepared to weather the storm than they were when Hurricane Katrina came ashore.
"Mississippi changed its laws, so the casinos are not actually on the water now, they're moved back from the water," he told CNBC. "That'll be a big difference."
That said, a big storm is not actually a drawing card for the region's casino business, and LaFleur's stock picks reflect that.
"Our top pick in the space right now is Wynn Gaming," he said. "They're really a pure play on Las Vegas and Macao; they enjoy a very strong market position in Las Vegas, even though that market's got some challenges, and they've really become the dominant player in the Macao market, particularly at the high end, which is very important there."
He also likes MGM Mirage, even though the company does have some Gulf-Coast exposure.
"One property, relatively small in the global scheme of MGM Mirage," he said. "MGM Mirage is the dominant player on the Las Vegas Strip; they've got some near-term challenges, but I think, over time, that's going to be a great company."
There's still a lot of real estate between the storm called Gustav and the offshore oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
But Randy Frederick is already thinking past the storm -- to the challenge of fixing up and cleaning up.
The director of derivatives for Charles Schwab has derived some suggestions for stock market investors.
"Among those that might benefit are companies that are into servicing and repairing of oil rigs, and in looking at some that reacted positively when (Hurricane) Katrina came through, the two that jump to the top of my list were Fluor and Halliburton," Frederick told CNBC.
There's also a huge potential for business after a hurricane makes landfall, causes damage, and moves on.
"Waste Management(International) is one that experienced a pretty sizable jump of about $10 after Hurricane Katrina," he said. "Really, if you think about it, it's kind of a common-sense thing: When things get torn up, whether it's houses or cities, there's going to be a lot of cleanup and a lot of trash to be picked up."
Gary Stefanski's school color is orange, but he spends a lot of time looking for green.
He's portfolio manager of the investment club at Syracuse University. The portfolio currently runs about $155,000.
So where does Stefanski's growth-oriented investment strategy direct the club's money?
His first pick is Research In Motion -- a stock which student investment manager Cory Scott of the University of Arkansas told CNBC earlier in the week ought to be shorted.
"The growth that they've shown over the past few quarters is outstanding," Stefanski said. "It's not just for executives any more; people my age and even teenagers are starting to get into the smart phones."
He also likes Monsanto, a stock that's down sharply since late spring.
- Watch The Dow 30 Now ________________________________
"They follow the corn prices a lot," he said of the agricultural-chemicals manufacturer. "We don't like finding a top and then trying to continue a top, we like to see a pullback, and then get something a little bit cheaper."
The energy stock on his list is Conoco Phillips.