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Broker names 3 stocks to buy, and 2 to sell

Looking for new investment ideas can be tough, especially during times of uncertainty and when the market is hovering near its highest levels in months.

As such, some investors take direction from brokers who periodically update their equity portfolios to reflect their latest views on the market.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported some of the recent changes made by UBS to its Australian share portfolio, and some of them may surprise you.

The report noted that UBS has added Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), together with Tatts Group Limited (ASX: TTS) to its list of companies in its model portfolio. It has also removed a number of businesses, including Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) and DUET Group (ASX: DUE), amongst others.

Of course, it’s important to remember that brokers get it wrong sometimes as well. In fact, the track records of many brokers (I am not talking specifically about UBS) are not good, so investors do need to take their decisions with a grain of salt.

Woodside Petroleum is an interesting choice considering the state of the energy sector right now (especially considering UBS also removed another oil play in Origin Energy). The oil price has made a substantial recovery in recent months, although there is still uncertainty as to where it will go next and whether the oil producers themselves are fairly priced yet.

In my opinion, Sirtex Medical is the most attractive business on that list, although it too carries risks that investors need to consider. The company, whose shares are currently changing hands for $31.61, is a medical device group which has developed a technology used for the treatment of cancer.

Some of the risks are obvious, including the risk that its trials fail to yield positive results and the fact that the biotechnology industry is heavily regulated, while there is also the risk that its sales could slow down severely to the point where its share price can no longer be justified.

Still, Sirtex does hold plenty of promise and long-term investors should take a look at the company’s prospects to make a decision on whether or not to buy. If the company continues to perform the way it has in recent years, shareholders could be very well-rewarded over time.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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