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Grading the Graders: Analyst Stock Picks for 2012


15. American Tower (AMT)

Company profile: American Tower is the largest independent operators of wireless and broadcast communication sites with more than 45,000 tower sites worldwide.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 6.5% this year to $63.92, and have a three-year, average annual return of 25%. S&P's year-end price target is $77.

S&P analysts say the company is "the market leader in the wireless tower industry, and we think further tower purchases will enable it to continue to achieve greater economies of scale."

14. Home Properties (HME)

Company profile: Home Properties is a real estate investment trust that specializes in low-rise, garden-style apartments in suburban locations, mostly near Northeastern cities.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 6.8% this year to $61, and have a three-year, average annual return of 22%. S&P's year-end price target is $72. Its shares carry a 4.34% dividend yield.

13. CVS Caremark (CVS)

Company profile: CVS is one of the nation's largest retail pharmacy chains now coupled with one of its biggest pharmacy-benefit managers after its merger with Caremark.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 7.3% this year to $44, and have a three-year, average annual return of 14%. S&P's year-end price target is $54.

12. Dell (DELL)

Company profile: Dell sells notebook computers, desktops, software and networking equipment directly and through some retail stores.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 10% this year to $16.26, and have a three-year, average annual return of 14%. S&P's year-end price target is $19.

11. Avnet (AVT)

Company profile: Avnet is one of the world's biggest distributors of semiconductors, embedded systems, computer products, software and electrical connectors.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 11% this year to $35.45 and have a three-year, average annual return of 19%. S&P's year-end price target is $39.

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