1. Apple (AAPL), the maker of consumer-electronic devices like the iPhone, iPad and iMac, is one of the most widely held stocks in the world. It made Bank of America/Merrill Lynch's list of top stocks for 2012 -- and several others'. The shares are up an average of 43% a year over the past decade. Goldman Sachs analysts say they still see great value.
Almost three-quarters of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses (with fewer than 1,000 workers) plan to purchase tablets over the next 12 months, with the iPad being the most considered among the group, according to an NPD report released Thursday. That will give Apple a boost unexpected by many investors.
2. Coca-Cola (KO), one of the world's biggest beverage companies, is on Morningstar's Ultimate Stock-Picker's list of favorites and is a top pick of Goldman Sachs and S&P for 2012.
3. Oracle (ORCL), a leader in business software and hardware, shows up on Goldman Sachs and S&P MarketScope's top picks list.4. International Business Machines (IBM), the computer industry conglomerate, has been a perennial "buy" on many lists over the past decade. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) has been gobbling up its shares all year and so sees brighter days ahead. 5. Microsoft (MSFT), the software and all-around computing giant, is held by 16 of the top mutual funds tracked by Morningstar's Ultimate Stock Pickers list. In addition, S&P has it rated "buy."
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