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Cooperman, Russo Offer Investment Ideas At Chicago Charity Event

“The third annual Invest for Kids event raised more than $1 million for seven Chicago-area children’s charities, according to spokeswoman Molly Bett Kovler, including the Illinois Education Foundation, Open Books, the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund and the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation,” reports Reuters. Almost a dozen of the top hedge fund managers in the business were there, sharing their best investment ideas with the roughly 800 attendees to the event.

OMEGA ADVISORS

Leon Cooperman is Sweet on Charming Shoppes

Leon Cooperman, the billionaire founder of Omega Advisors, told attendees to the Invest for Kids event that his top pick for 2012 is Charming Shoppes Inc (CHRS), the company that owns the popular plus-size brands Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus Sizes. Cooperman explained his reasoning simply – “In 1986, the average woman’s size was 8. The average woman’s size today is 16.” The stock recently traded at $3.34 a share. Analysts predict the stock will hit $5.50 in the next year. Cooperman thinks the stock is underpriced and is predicting the company will be acquired soon, if not in the next year.

Thomas Russo Sees Opportunity in European Food and Drink

Thomas Russo, who oversees Gardner Russo & Gardner, also offered a couple investing suggestions. His picks are Nestle (NSRGY), the Swiss-based food company, and Pernod Ricard, the French alcoholic beverage company. “The news of the day doesn’t look very good,” said Russo, referring to the possibility that Italy will become the latest to fall into a sovereign debt crisis. “But my business, as a value investor, is to look for 50 cent dollar bills.” He explained, “They’re rare to find but you can find them. And I’d say there’s no better place to pick at the moment than Europe, which is so collectively feared and despised.”

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