MILLBURN, N.J. (Stockpickr) -- Every year, investors and the media seem to focus on those stock darlings of the year just passed. In 2010, we had Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Salesforce.com (CRM), to name a few.But what can we learn from looking at the past year's dogs? Sure, some of them sold off and are left to wither away and die. Others suffer from a financial version of the Cinderella complex. But certainly some offer compelling arguments for potential comebacks. I've identified three such stocks poised for comebacks in 2011. These are not sure things, but they certainly are so disliked that they may provide some opportunities. Related: 4 S&P 500 Stocks Poised to Rebound Dean Foods ( DF) Dean Foods is one of the largest producers of dairy products in the U.S. The company operates under many brands, including Land O'Lakes, Garelick Farms, Mayfield Dairy, Meadow Gold and Silk. What could be more basic to our dietary and health needs than milk, cheese and butter? The company had a bad year in 2010, a very bad year, with earnings declining nearly 50% from 2009 levels. Dean Foods was one of the worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500, down nearly 50% for the year. The company is saddled with nearly $4 billion of debt, which is tremendous compared with its market cap of $1.6 billion. This is likely due to historical acquisitions that have a cumulative effect of nearly $3.3 billion of goodwill on the balance sheet. All told, tangible equity for Dean Foods is negative $1.8 billion. Still Dean Foods will earn close to 80 cents for 2010 and could improve a bit in 2011 as it benefits from lower interest rates and increased capacity utilization. The worst is likely in the rearview mirror for Dean Foods. With expectations so low, a better-than-expected quarter coupled with an analyst upgrade could nudge the stock back to the $12 level -- though not much further. Dean Foods ended 2010 at $8.84 Jake Lynch sees comeback potential in Dean Foods, too, flagging it as one of 10 unloved stocks with upside. Jim Cramer, however, recently recommended it as a stock to avoid. Intel ( INTC) Intel is the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer. The company has one of the most advanced teams of engineers developing new and improved semiconductors for use in computers, handheld devices and consumer electronics. During the tech boom of the 1990s, Intel was one of the most overanalyzed companies on Wall Street. It still is, with more than 40 mainstream Wall Street analysts covering the stock.
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