Money Manager Muhlenkamp Bullish on Blue Chips

Monday, 10 Oct 2011 07:57 AM

By Dan Weil

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The volatility currently surrounding financial markets makes large, blue chip stocks an attractive investment choice, says Ron Muhlenkamp, head of Muhlenkamp & Co., a money management firm.

In times like these you want strong balance sheets, he tells Forbes.com. “You want to be sure that the companies you own can survive whatever the heck happens,” Muhlenkamp says.

“We want good companies, sound balance sheets, nicely profitable. And then we want to be sure that they’re doing useful things with the money that they’re earning.”

That has sent him to big companies, which are trading at lower valuations than their smaller brethren. Muhlenkamp likes companies with a lot of cash and free cash flow.

So what is he holding?

Cisco, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft for starters. “I own AT&T probably for the first time in my life,” Muhlenkamp says. “I own Exelon, which is a yield play. The yield plays today are dividends of good companies. These all have great balance sheets, they all have nice free cash flow. Most of them are international companies.”

He also likes healthcare companies and owns shares of United Healthcare, Covidien and Gilead Sciences.

Other experts share Muhlenkamp’s affinity for dividend stocks. "Despite the sluggish economy, the corporate sector is churning out record profits and increasing dividend payments," renowned stock guru Jeremy Siegel and Wisdom Tree directory Jeremy Schwartz write in The Wall Street Journal.

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