Shares of utility Energias de Portugal are the top pick for April among Portuguese fund managers polled by Reuters, followed by oil company Galp and Zon Multimedia (ZON.LS).
Despite its slight underperformance compared to the broader market in Lisbon so far this year, investment fund managers at BPI, Banif, Barclays Portugal, ESAF and Optimize cite EDP's defensive profile and predictability of results as factors explaining their preference.
EDP was chosen because of strong cash flow generation and little risk of downward revision of estimates, said Jorge Guimaraes of Banif. Most of the electricity market in Portugal is regulated and EDP has little exposure to power price drops.
EDP's stock has shed about 2 percent so far this year, while Lisbon's PSI20 .PSI20 stock market has gained 1 percent. Last year, EDP fell 39.7 percent. It traded 2.1 percent higher on Monday at 2.645 euros.
Fund mangers expected the index to be influenced by the quarterly earnings season in the United States and Europe this month, which should add volatility, but in general expected further advances in the index.
Galp, the oil and gas company, which has jumped over 30 percent so far this year after losing 61 percent in 2008, is another managers' pick in the index. It trades at 9.585 euros.
Even after the recent recovery in oil prices, gasoline consumption is expected to increase due to warm weather, while the company's stakes in major oil finds in Brazil, still in the development phase, provide more long-term support to the stock.
As for Zon, which offers pay TV, Internet and phone services, funds cite its rising client numbers, demonstrating resilience to the economic recession.
Zon has gained around 10 percent since the start of the year. It traded 2.7 percent higher at 4.18 euros on Monday.
The fund managers did not state how much they expected their top picks to gain in percentage terms in April.
(Reporting by Ruben Bicho; Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Rupert Winchester) ((email@example.com; (351) 213-509-209; RM: firstname.lastname@example.org))