Recent economic data have been encouraging, but Alpine Woods Capital Investors portfolio manager Kevin Shacknofsky thinks investors should wait for the housing market to stabilize before moving away from defensive stocks.
His four-star Alpine Dynamic Dividend Fund is up an average of 9.3 percent per year over the last three years.
Like many other successful managers, he's currently strong on companies with exposure to global growth, strong balance sheets and attractive dividends.
At the top of his list is Nestle.
"We think the best way to play this market is through a secure, consumer-staple company that has pricing power, but also has exposure to attractive overseas markets," he told CNBC. "Over a third of Nestle's earnings come from emerging markets."
Shacknofsky also likes Russian wireless service provider Mobile Telesystems.
"The Russian consumer is a very attractive play right now, because the strong energy and commodity prices are really growing the Russian economy," he said.
"Russian consumers like to spend, because historically, whenever they've had money in the bank, government policy has wiped out their savings."
Deep-water drilling rig provider Diamond Offshore also makes his list.
He sees rising oil prices pumping cash into the company and into shareholders' pockets through special dividends.
He owns Nestle, Mobile Telesystems, and Diamond Offshore through his fund.