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6 Stocks Driving the Economy in 2012

Whirlpool (WHR - Get Report)

Company Profile: Whirlpool manufactures and markets a wide range of home product appliances in 12 countries under 13 brand names. The company's products include laundry appliances, refrigerators, cooking appliances, dishwashers, mixers and other small household appliances.

Share Price: $53.86 (Jan. 18 Close)

Year-to-Date Increase: About 16.6%

TheStreet Ratings Grade: Hold. While Whirlpool's gross profit margin for the third quarter of its fiscal year 2011 decreased compared with the same period a year ago, the company managed to grow both sales and net income at a faster pace than the average competitor in its industry that quarter, compared with the same quarter a year ago, says TheStreet Ratings team.

Standard & Poor's View: Equity analyst Jim Yin cites ongoing global economic growth problems as his primary concern for Whirlpool's future performance. In addition to Whirlpool's exposure to Europe and the U.S., Yin is also worried about impact rising material costs will have on the company's operating margins.

Still, on a more positive note, Yin thinks such headwinds would be partially offset by continued strength in Asia. Although competition is increasing in Latin America, "we see strong demand for appliances in Asia and Latin America," he says.

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>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 6 Stocks Driving the Economy in 2012 portfolio on Stockpickr.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 6 Stocks Driving the Economy in 2012 portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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