Each week, a professional investor tells MoneyWeek where he'd put his money now. This week: Fraser Mackersie, co-manager, Unicorn Free Spirit Fund, Unicorn Asset Management.
Despite the strong performance of equity markets this year, we still see a number of interesting opportunities, particularly in smaller companies. The three stocks I've selected are all listed on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim). This index, which has again lagged the main market by a sizeable margin this year, received a boost earlier in the month when Aim stocks became eligible for inclusion in Individual Savings Accounts (Isas).
The Unicorn Free Spirit Fund maintains a significant weighting in technology stocks, where we see an attractive combination of increasingly robust financial results and strong growth. While merger and acquisition activity remains subdued, an increasing number of companies are coming to market. The Free Spirit Fund has already taken part in one new issue this year, with another one due to start trading in the coming weeks.
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The following companies enjoy exposure to three specific growth themes: location-based technology, online video and e-commerce. They are all truly international businesses, with a significant proportion of their revenues coming from outside the UK. Despite experiencing periods of significant growth, all three also have net cash on their balance sheets.
We first invested in Ubisense (Aim: UBI), a market leader in location-based smart technology, when it floated in 2011. Ubisense technology enables its customers to track and monitor assets in real time ranging from large manufacturing sites to entire utility networks. After a relatively quiet start to life as a quoted company, momentum appears to be building with a number of significant new contracts announced this year. The company, which has an impressive customer base including BMW and General Electric, also recently became an enterprise partner of Google.
Another company I like is Blinkx (Aim: BLNX), which should continue to benefit from the rapid growth in video content online. Blinkx provides high quality, relevant video content to web publishers, using its proprietary search engine. Revenue is generated from matching advertising with relevant videos.The company already places a large amount of video content online, but still only monetises a relatively small proportion. However, this percentage continues to grow, as does the volume and demand for online video content.
The share price has been strong this year after the release of impressive annual results in May. We remain positive on the company's long-term prospects, given the underlying growth drivers and its strong market position.
Lastly, there's Optimal Payments (Aim: OPAY). This provider of online payment services has particular strength in the online gaming market. The shares have done well this year, but we feel there is more to come, driven by the general growth in ecommerce and the ongoing moves to regulate online gaming in the US. With an established and efficient payment platform in place, the firm should benefit from the positive impact of operational gearing as volumes increase.
With each of these companies enjoying a strong market position, exposure to long-term growth themes, and robust financial health, we remain confident in the prospects for all three over our long-term investment horizon.
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