David Winters has built a reputation as a distressed-debt specialist and shareholder activist. But these days, the manager of theWintergreen Fund (ticker: WGRNX) is a go-anywhere stockpicker. And for this value investor, who this month was nominated by Morningstar for International-Stock Manager of the Year, the world is his oyster.
"It's a very constructive time to be a global value investor," Winters says. "Usually value investing is an exercise in buying dented soup cans and hoping you can flip them and make money. These days investors can buy the best companies in the world at cheap prices."
Barrons.com recently spoke with Winters regarding his outlook for 2012. Below are excerpts from our conversation.
Barrons.com:How should smart investors position their portfolios for 2012?
Winters: On U.S. and international exchanges, investors can find high-quality global equities that over time will generate superior rates of return. People have essentially fled stocks for the safety of cash, so there's a lot of value right now. Investors can get good companies with dividend yields of 3.5% and 4%. Look for what we call the tri-factor -- good businesses, good management and shares trading at a discount.
Q: Are you worried about Europe's financial woes or Asia's slowing economic growth?
A: Europe clearly faces challenges. And right now, we have no money in the euro zone. Still, we like Swiss and some U.K.-based multinationals that earn their money all over the world. Globally diversified companies have real opportunities, currency diversification and pricing power. Asia, meanwhile, remains a long-term bright spot. There are four billion people there who want what we have in the West and will work hard to get it.
Full interview can be viewed at [online.barrons.com]
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