Amid stagnant economic growth around the global, investors may need to buy companies that are doing the growing for themselves.
"The investor has to do a lot of homework because growth just isn't popping out at you," Fort Pitt Capital portfolio manager Kim Forrest said Friday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "So what you have to do is look at their earnings calls and look at the earnings announcements, and see those companies that are actually gaining market share."
The first two companies she points to are in the insurance brokerage area, a sector that has seen steady growth with sales and earnings outlooks projected to rise over the next few years. Her top picks include Illinois-based Arthur J. Gallagher and Marsh & McLennan. Gallagher has managed to grow its annual revenue each year going back to 2005, with 17 percent top-line growth enjoyed in 2015 and 45 percent in 2014.
Forrest also recommended RPM International, an American multinational company specializing in high-performance building maintenance products.
While Forrest encourages buying tried-and-true industry names, Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners, looks to tech-related sectors. His list may not include today's floundering big-cap tech companies, but rather names that could be set to rise with growing demand in the future.
One of those areas includes the cybersecurity sector, given possible government regulations that Wolff believes will give specific companies a leg up even in times of an economic slowdown.
"We think there are new regulations coming into play [in cybersecurity] that would mean you're legally responsible for being hacked, particularly if you're a financial institution," Wolff said. "That's going to put a big premium, and it's going to mean that your insurers require you to spend more money on cybersecurity as a legal defense and a stipulation. Names like FireEye and Palo Alto Networks look a little better, particularly as they come down to earth."
Wolff also points to the e-commerce sector as more consumers move toward online outlets. Here, he cites the money-losing, peer-to-peer art and supply site Etsy, which has seen its shares plunge.
Canadian e-commerce software developer Shopify rounds out Wolff's list.
If the names are not currently at the top of the average investor's buy list, that's part of the idea. To Forrest's point, finding good stocks in a weak macro environment probably takes a bit more digging.
Disclosure: The Fort Pitt fund managed by Forrest has positions in AJC, MMC and RPM. Neither Wolff nor his firm have any positions in the companies he mentioned.