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5 Stocks to Watch in 2012


As the year winds down, here are some stocks to keep on your watch list heading into the New Year.


As the year winds down, traders may be looking for stocks to keep on their watch list heading into the New Year.

For active traders, 2011 has had a variety of story lines. Stocks like Netflix (NFLX), Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR), and InterDigital (IDCC) dominated the conversation this year. While it is impossible to predict what the hot stories in 2012 will be, given the trends going into the New Year, traders can get a sense of what may turn up.

1. Clearwire (CLWR) is a play on the increasing need for spectrum. After abandoning its attempts to acquire T-Mobile, AT&T (T) purchased spectrum from Qualcomm (QCOM). Still, as the use of smartphones and 4G networks continues to increase, Clearwire may dominate market chatter in 2012.

2. Dish Network (DISH) -- like Clearwire -- has excess spectrum and could be a hot stock in 2012.

3. Bank of America (BAC): The twitter-verse lights up when this stock approaches $5, as traders hold their breaths in anticipation of it breaking below that important level.

Bank of America is mammoth in scope and the most widely held stock among members of Congress. Big names like Warren Buffett and John Paulson are invested.

So, while it seems as though the bank is most definitely in the "too big to fail" category, the stock could continue to come under fire if the situation in the eurozone deteriorates.

Netflix was badly battered this year, falling from a high near $300 to a low of about $60. Yet the business model remains intact, and it could be an attractive takeover target for a company looking to enter the streaming content market.

Rumors have already been floated that Verizon (VZ) was considering a purchase. The rumor has yet to come to fruition, but as Netflix's stock trades lower, rumblings of a buyout could make their way around trading desks in the New Year.

4. Focus Media (FMCN) is the latest Chinese company to be targeted by Muddy Waters. After exposing Sino Forest (SNOFF) and RINO International, Muddy Waters brought the market's attention to Focus Media just a few weeks ago.

The company has since responded to the allegations with two "independent" audits -- both supporting the company's initial claims.

Although Muddy Waters has been wrong before, traders may anticipate the agency will respond at some point in 2012.

5. Apple (AAPL) has been a top stock of 2011 and could see a repeat performance in 2012. The company maintains a war chest of some $80 billion and, despite the passing of its famed CEO Steve Jobs, reportedly has a pipeline of innovative products including a rumored TV.

Still, cracks have begun to form in Apple's foundation, and the company could prove to be a surprise short next year.

Editor's Note: This content was originally published on by Sam Mattera.

Below, find some more great ETF and market content from Benzinga:

By Sam Mattera
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Twitter: @Benzinga

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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