Neff: "It's Time To Go In"

In a rare interview, retired value guru John Neff — who put together one of the best track records in history over his three-plus decades managing the Windsor Fund — tells Fortune that now is the time to buy stocks.

“I think it’s time to go in, and I have,” Neff says. “And I think retail investors should be availing themselves of the bargains out there.”

Neff — whose fund outperformed the S&P 500 by an average of more than 3 percentage points per year during his 31-year run — says he, too, has been hit hard by the recent downturn, estimating his personal portfolio lost about 30 percent in 2008. “I’ve taken a kick in the chops along with everybody else,” he said. He in particular got hurt by his large stake in Citigroup, Fortune’s Eugenia Levenson reports.

Now, however, Neff is bullish, “even tapping his bond portfolio in December for cash” to put into stocks, Levenson writes. Neff built his fortune and reputation by focusing on stocks with low price/earnings ratios that met a variety of other fundamental-based tests, and he gives Fortune four picks he’s currently high on: Seagate Technology (STX); Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Conoco-Phillips (COP); and Swift Energy (SFY).