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5 Top Stocks From 2011 Forecasts

Stocks in this article: MOSRIGATWCVXCMIDGW

MINNEAPOLIS ( Stockpickr) -- The beautiful thing about the stock market is that everyone has an opinion. At this time of year, the opinions turn to the year ahead. Yes, experts and amateurs alike are out in force with their predictions for 2011.

I do the same thing. Over the last four years I have published my own list of top picks for the coming year. These 10 top stocks to buy have beaten the market substantially in three out of the last four years.

This year I thought I'd take a different approach. Oh, for sure, I have my own ideas for what stocks will do well next year, but I wanted to see what others were thinking first. What stocks stand out from the seemingly never-ending lists of top stocks to buy?

Related: Buffett's 10 Best Investments for 2011

Let's start with the venerable Goldman Sachs. Everyone wants to hear what this all-powerful investment bank has to say about the markets for the coming year. In early December, Goldman announced its 2011 forecast.

The Wall Street firm expects a blow-off rally in 2011, with the S&P 500 gaining 25%. Fueling those gains will be acceleration in economic growth. It recommends that investors increase exposure to cyclical stocks or those stocks that gain value during economic expansions.

Goldman also suggests that investors move to an overweight position in financials and energy and to stay overweight in the technology sector. It then goes on to tell investors to be underweight defensive stocks including health care, utilities and consumer staples.

There is nothing earth shattering in the Goldman view, but it is noteworthy how bullish the company is regarding the market. The trick, of course, is with individual names. There Goldman leaves us wanting a bit more.

What are some of the top names being bandied about in other top-stocks-for-2011 lists?

First up is Fortune's list of top 10 stocks for 2011. I was much impressed with the basic premise of how the magazine compiled its list. Key to its approach was to identify companies that are growing rapidly and yet trading for reasonable prices.

That is a rational approach indeed. One of the names jumping out from Fortune's list is Mosaic (MOS), which is one of my favorite stocks for 2011 as well. The fertilizer company formerly owned by Cargill plays a huge role in maximizing agricultural yields necessary to feed the global economy and is poised for significant growth.

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