Interestingly, 2012 started off by giving the dogs of the market a chance to outshine the 2011 winners. Leading the pack was Netflix ( NFLX), Micron Technology ( MU) and Bank of America ( BAC). On the flip side, among the biggest losers were the utilities and consumer goods industries, which led the pack in 2011. A cautiously optimistic approach to 2012 is probably the best way to invest at the start of the year. Increasing exposure to the stock market will likely juice returns, but it's important to keep in mind that there will continue to be volatility in the market. A balanced portfolio will be the right investing approach this year. -- Written by Lindsey Bell in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Lindsey Bell.