This week, in our focus on the winning analysts in each industry category from our Analyst Rankings -- Equity 2000, we profile the top analysts tracking alternative carrier stocks. Next week, we look at analysts covering integrated telecommunications services. (Our last focus was on REITs.)

The Winners
By name
By category
By firm
Best stock pickers
Best firms

Though one of 1999's hottest areas, the competitive local exchange carrier, or CLEC, sector has fallen 40% since the beginning of the year -- most of that selloff since March. Our three winning analysts remain unperturbed by this poor recent performance, however, though they do caution that the industry is sure to undergo further consolidation and see further Chapter 11 filings.

As the sector undergoes a Darwinian evolution, how can investors be sure they own the stocks of the companies most likely to survive and flourish? Our analysts recommend a small number of companies.

All three analysts like McLeod USA ( MCLD, while both No. 2 winner James Henry and No. 3 winner Mark Kastan like XO Communications ( XOXO (formerly Nextlink Communications). Peter Kennedy, who ties with Kastan for third place, chooses Time Warner Telecom ( TWTC -- a name that Henry also favors -- as his top stock pick. (First-place winner Jack Grubman was not available for an interview.)

Alternative Carriers*

1st Place
Jack Grubman
Salomon Smith Barney

2nd Place
James Henry
Bear Stearns
(See Report Card)

3rd Place (tie)
Mark Kastan
Credit Suisse First Boston
(See Report Card)

3rd Place (tie)
Peter Kennedy
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
(See Report Card)
*First-place winner Jack Grubman was not available for an interview.

Rate Their Stock Picks:

Which stock do you like best? Henry: XO Communications Kastan: McLeod USA Kennedy: Time Warner Telecom