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Top Stock Picks Under $5 for 2011

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7. Vantage Drilling (VTG - Get Report)

Company Profile: Vantage Drilling contracts drilling units, related equipment and work crews to drill oil and natural gas wells.

Share Price: $2.20 (Dec. 17)

2010 Stock Performance: 37%

Analyst Consensus: Vantage has seven "buy" ratings from research firms. Of the other three firms covering the stock, two say investors should sell shares.

Bullish Case: In a Nov. 12 research report, Deutsche Bank analyst Kathryn O'Connor maintained her "buy" rating on Vantage Drilling, noting the company's new flagship asset, the Platinum Explorer drillship, has completed construction on schedule and management reported successful sea trials. O'Connor says that, with delivery of the Platinum Explorer beginning, leverage may decline in 2011.

"Despite high leverage until then, we believe VTG has desirable geographic diversification, a premium fleet and, most importantly, a solid contract backlog," O'Connor wrote. "We continue to favor the name versus other service/driller credits."

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