Power Stock Rankings

Financials dominated the news last week, and the ranking this week.
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During the week of Jan. 6, readers searched for these 10 stocks more than any others. Research associate Patrick Schultz makes the buy, sell or hold call on them below, in the order of their popularity.


Countrywide Financial


: Normally, when you own a stock and it gets bought, it is cause for celebration. Not with CFC. The "take under" bid by

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

did not benefit shareholders. If you have been reading this column, you should not have been involved, as I have advocated avoiding it. Now, it is an absolute sell. If the deal falls apart, I believe the stock goes to zero. And I highly doubt any other financial institution is going to outbid BofA for this troubled franchise. --



Banc of America

(BAC) - Get Report

: The company is making a very risky bet with its takeover of Countrywide. The bears will no doubt claim that BAC has just ruined its balance sheet and taken on massive legal risk with this move. I do like the juicy dividend yield of 6.6%, but I don't see any discernible edge right now, and only time will tell if CEO Ken Lewis made a smart deal. --



Sirius Satellite

(SIRI) - Get Report

: No news to report as this stock waits for merger approval. I still like the risk/reward, as the stock has dipped below $3. --




(C) - Get Report

: The financial behemoth is set to report its earnings (or should I say losses?) tomorrow, and it should be ugly. Very ugly. However, the big question is whether the stock has priced in all the bad news. Is there any more bad news that is not already known? I can see one more leg down, but I am becoming more constructive on this name. Let's wait and see what CEO Vikram Pandit says in his first quarterly conference call. Should be interesting. --



E*Trade Financial

(ETFC) - Get Report

: Last week, the company announced that its turnaround plan is on track. The company has been selling asset-backed portfolios, which investors have loathed, and shut down noncore businesses. These steps are all fine and dandy, but there are so many better names to consider. Here is my take: No new money should be put into this stock, but if you already own it, I would treat it as a call option on the turnaround. --





: The

great news from


(IBM) - Get Report

should bode well for EMC. It has really gotten hammered recently, and I would buy aggressively at these levels. --




(AAPL) - Get Report

: This is a very easy one to recommend. It is the best of the best, and

MacWorld always brings pleasant upside surprises. --



Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

: The market mob, led by


(INTC) - Get Report

, has taken this chipmaker to the proverbial woodshed and beaten it to a pulp. I have been negative on this name, but I could see it bouncing from these very depressed levels. I will give this stock an unenthusiastic buy, but only for a trade. --




(GRMN) - Get Report

: This repeat name is one of the toughest calls out there for me. I believe the holiday shopping season was good for this GPS maker, and it's on track to report strong holiday sales. But in the long run, I believe the fundamentals of its business model are flawed. As I have said before, I am not sure when, but this company is going to see a huge secular decline in demand as cheaper competing technologies vie for their market. --



Washington Mutual

(WM) - Get Report

: Use the Countrywide action last week as your script for WM. In other words, it's a horrible risk/reward scenario. If WM gets a takeover bid, it will most likely be a "take under" bid, and you will lose money from current levels. And if WM does not get a takeover bid, there will be serious issues of solvency. --


Patrick Schultz is a research associate at In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He has previously obtained Securities licenses under the NASD?s Series 7, Series 24, Series 52, and Series 63 exams and has worked in the financial markets on various trading desks in addition to trading for his own account. Schultz appreciates your feedback;

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