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Goldman's 7 Best Financial Stocks for 2011

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Financial stocks, among the laggards of 2010, may rebound in 2011 as value comes into vogue. Goldman Sachs favors the following seven financial stocks, which made its 2011 Conviction Buy List. All are still rated "buy" and expected to rise as much as 20% in the next year. Below, they are ordered by upside, from least to most.

7. Principal Financial (PFG) is an insurance and investment management company.

Principal is due to release fourth-quarter results today. It has an average earnings surprise average of 4.8% and moves 4%, both up and down, in reaction to earnings announcements. Principal's stock has soared 50% in the past 12 months, easily outpacing indices, and 13% in the past three months. Consequently, it has passed many of analysts' price targets. Goldman is still bullish, but predicts just 7% of remaining upside in the next 12 months.

Principal receives "buy" ratings from just 26% of researchers evaluating its stock. But, it is still notably undervalued relative to its peer group. The stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of less than 12, a book value multiple of 1.2 and a cash flow multiple of 4.5, 21%, 70% and 71% industry discounts. The stock pays an annual dividend, which fluctuates depending upon operating results. This year's 55 cent annual payout translated to a 2% yield on payment.

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