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5 Cash-Rich Companies to Buy in 2012

Stocks in this article: AAPL CVX JNJ WDC NOV

BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- If yesterday's unceremonious selloff of nearly every asset class reminds us of one thing, it's that cash is still king. In yesterday's session, the pullback sent the S&P 500 down 1.54%. It also sent alternative assets like gold down even more as anxious investors piled into the dollar.

Holding cash in your portfolio is one thing, but focusing on companies that hold cash on their balance sheets is yet another.

As the 2012 rally heated up, it was easy to eschew companies with lots of cash in favor of higher-risk stocks that could move faster. But investors who took that high-beta route have gotten their clocks cleaned in the past few trading days -- and let's not forget that the most recent pullback pales in comparison to the corrections we were faced with just a few months ago.

>>7 Dividend Stocks Promising Growth and Protection

Right now, corporate profits and corporate cash holdings both sit at all-time highs, a factor that could directly line up with shareholder profits in 2012. After all, firms with cash can opt to increase shareholder value by paying a dividend or initiating a share buyback. Plus, they have the ability to take advantage of pricey M&A opportunities and internal investments.

But don't think that cash is some sort of a drag on investment performance.

Since we last took a look at cash-rich firms six months ago, the six names I talked about rallied an average of 19.22%. That's around a third better performance than "buying the market" would have earned you.

To take advantage of the opportunities presenting themselves in cash-rich stocks, here's a look at five stocks that currently hold significant cash and little to no debt.

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