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LONDON -- We have experienced the continued (but fading) rumblings of the eurozone crisis, the drama over the fiscal cliff, and worries over a triple-dipping British economy, and yet -- despite it all -- global equity markets are on the up. I am hopeful there will be more to come from this bull market in 2013. Here are my picks to ride that wave.
Dixons Retail (LSE: DXNS )
Ever since the credit crunch, the high street has been crumbling. Company after company has seen its shares trashed as their business has been decimated.
Household names such as Woolworths, Zavvi, Borders, and Threshers have gone to the wall. Other companies, such as HMV and GAME Group, seem to be teetering on the brink. Meanwhile, the Internet and supermarkets marched onward. This is the market red in tooth and claw.
So why on earth would I be tipping a high-street retailer? Well, for me, Dixons Retail is showing signs that it will come through the current wave of creative destruction. I see it as a survivor amid all the carnage. This view has been reinforced by the demise of its nearest competitor, Comet.
If the company's prospects are much improved by the bankruptcy of its archrival, that doesn't mean it should rest on its laurels. And it isn't: It has revamped its stores, positioning itself to take advantage of the boom in tablets and smartphones. It has been steadily cutting costs to bring its prices nearer to Internet prices. And it also has websites, so you can buy online as well as in-store.
Of course, this pick does not come without risk, but I see this as a contrarian play on Dixons successfully fusing the worlds of Internet and high-street retailing. Could it be the Next of electrical retail? Here's hoping.
Tullett Prebon (LSE: TLPR )
One of the contrarian plays of the moment is financials. Beaten-down shares such as Barclays and Aviva have recently been storming ahead.
Tullett Prebon is a financial share of a different kind. Specifically, it is one of the largest interdealer money brokers in the world. It provides a range of services to clients such as commercial and investment banks.
Basically, if financial markets do well, Tullett Prebon does well. I am hopeful of a financial recovery that will push Tullett's shares higher. As it is currently on a price-to-earnings ratio of 5.5 and a dividend yield of 6.2%, there is great potential for this contrarian play to rise in value.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL )
It didn't take long after the passing of Steve Jobs for many to say that Apple's best days were behind it. Many said Apple was passing the mantle of the world's greatest innovator to companies like Samsung and Google.
And yet the facts show that the iPhone 5 is selling faster than any iPhone before it, and its sales are greater than all other smartphones put together! And that's not to mention the new iPad and the iPad mini. When these new sales figures start to come out, I expect Apple's share price to go through another bull phase. Apple's share price has fallen by nearly a third in recent months, and the company is now on a forward P/E ratio of just nine.
For a company that is currently the strongest force in world equity markets, this is a golden buying opportunity.
My final pick is an emerging market. After a torrid 2012, emerging markets are now cheap as chips, and I expect this value to out in 2013.
Of all the BRICs, I favor in particular Russia and China. I have harped on enough about China, but I also think there is a great outlook for Russia.
It is true that this country battles corruption, but it is also by far the cheapest of the BRICs. Unlike almost every Western economy, it has almost no government debt. It took the key step of entering the WTO in 2012, and the economy is steadily diversifying away from oil and gas. It also has a burgeoning consumer sector. Eventually -- hopefully soon -- this potential will blossom into profits.
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