Opportunities in small-cap swoon: Pro

Investors fleeing weakness in small-cap stocks over the past few days has created great opportunities, top-rated Wells Capital Management portfolio manager Bryant VanCronkhite said Wednesday.

"Right now, I think we need to let the volatility be our friend," he said. "Look for that proverbial baby being thrown out with the bath water, if you will, where sentiment and stock prices have moved farther than fundamentals alone would justify."

VanCronkhite manages the Wells Fargo Advantage Special Mid Cap Value Fund (SMCDX), which has a four-star rating from Morningstar. The fund is up 3.4 percent year to date.

On CNBC's "Halftime Report," he said that the pullback in small-cap names has led to an emphasis on fundamentals.

"Importantly, though, we don't know if the market is up 10 percent or down 10 percent next, so we're focused on the balance sheet because that balance sheet will be the fortress for protection if it's down 10 percent, but also the catalyst for value creation in a more positive scenario," he said.

VanCronkhite said that his top three picks are Regal Beloit, Guess and Denny's. He holds positions in all three stocks.

"We try not to use 'feel' so much when looking at stocks. We're looking at our valuations and fundamentals," he said. "What we're seeing right now through our valuations is there are just pockets of opportunity, and it is about stock-picking. It's not about the broader market today."

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro.