4. BMC Software (BMC)
Company Profile: BMC Software is a provider of Cloud computing and IT service management.Share Price: $33.36 (Dec. 14) Potential Upside: 47% based on a price target of $49 Investment Thesis: Analyst Michael Turits calls BMC Software "a good defensive pick in the event of a worsening economic environment," noting that the stock was a top relative performer during the downturn of 2008 and 2009. "We believe BMC has taken aggressive steps to address sales force compensation and quotas that should begin to 'right the ship' in the next twelve months," Turits writes. Interested in more on BMC Software? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
3. Whiting Petroleum (WLL - Get Report) Company Profile: Whiting Petroleum is an oil and gas exploration and production company. It owns and operates properties in the Permian Basin, Rocky Mountain, Mid-Continent, Gulf Coast and Michigan regions of the U.S. Share Price: $44.21 (Dec. 14) Potential Upside: 58.3% based on a price target of $70 Investment Thesis: Analyst John Freeman offers an extensive list of catalysts for Whiting in 2012, including the company's so-called Lewis and Clark play, which he says will alleviate inventory concerns. "In addition to Lewis and Clark, well results from several other areas across the Williston Basin (Hidden Bench, Starbuck, Tarpon, and Missouri Breaks) will help unlock the resource potential across the smaller plays in the Rocky Mountain region," Freeman writes. "While Whiting boasts an attractive balance sheet (net debt/book cap of 29%), the company is also exploring monetization options including joint ventures and/or royalty trusts to fund operations before drawing further on its $1.5 billion borrowing base." Interested in more on Whiting Petroleum? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.