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Top Stock Picks Under $5 for 2011

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2. Sprint Nextel (S)

Company Profile: Sprint Nextel offers a range of wireless and wireline products and services.

Share Price: $4.16 (Dec. 17)

2010 Stock Performance: 14%

Analyst Consensus: Sprint Nextel is favored by Wall Street analysts, with 11 researchers recommending the stock as a "buy." Another 16 analysts say investors should hold shares, while four others recommend dumping the stock.

Bullish Case: In a Dec. 12 research note, Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Chaplin said Sprint remains his highest-conviction "outperform" after the telecom shop announced Network Vision, a plan to spend $5 billion to upgrade Sprint's network over the next five years. The plan will merge Sprint's 3G and 4G towers but spells the end of the push-to-talk iDEN network, which the company has had difficulty integrating since the 2005 merger with Nextel.

"The project will be transformative, if executed successfully," Chaplin wrote. "We believe there is $4/share in upside from Vision. However, we believe the company will only get credit for half of this value in 2011."

Credit Suisse raised its price target to $8.

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