Top picks 2013: Apple, Freeport McMoRan

These favorites require a long-term, fundamental investing approach.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 27, 2012 11:09AM
appleBy Russ Kaplan, Heartland Adviser

Apple (AAPL) is a good case for the role psychology plays in investments, and this is when my B.A. and M.A. in sociology comes in very handy.

Meanwhile, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) is a classic illustration of the difference between short-term thinking and long-term thinking, or making a quick buck vs. making a good investment.

In 2012, Apple broke the $700 level and analysts were saying it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. After a 25% correction, analysts are now saying it is mature company past its prime.

Honestly, has the company really changed in such a short time, or is this another speculative algorithm from the quantitative analysts?

By all my measures of value, Apple is a good buy. Its price-to-earnings ratio is 11, which is less than the total market, and about one half of Apple's normal price-to-earnings ratio.

Yes, there is constant change in the computer industry, but Apple, with its management skills and huge trove of cash, should be able to adapt to this in its usual seamless manner.

Apple pays a dividend of about 2%, so if you are looking solely for income this is not a stock for you.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold recently fell sharply on the news that it was going to spend $9 billion to purchase two oil companies. These acquisitions are an attempt to expand their business.

Was this a good move? If you were looking towards the next quarter's earnings you are probably would not be interested in investing in this stock.

Now, let's take a long-term investment view of the company. What Freeport-McMoRan has done is diversified its business from being solely into mining, to a mining and oil exploration.

Therefore, if you want a quick profit, you should avoid this stock. But if you want a good investment for the long run, then Freeport-McMoran is for you.

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