Editor's note: As part of our partnership with Nightly Business Report, TheStreet's David Peltier will appear on NBR Monday (check local listings) to reveal his favorite stocks for riding out the rest of 2012.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks have rocketed out of the gate in 2012. We're just about to close the book on the first quarter and the S&P 500 is up about 12% -- which, in most cases, would be considered a successful year, much less a quarter. And in fact, when I think about the rest of 2012, I don't foresee an outcome where the market will give up all its gains or end up 20% or more for the year. Rather, I think it's likely we'll enter a more choppy, sideways trading environment over the next couple of quarters, as stocks digest recent gains. With that in mind, I believe the best strategy is to take some profits in the early winners of 2012 and rotate into some high-quality stocks in sectors that have lagged year-to-date.
In the consumer staples area, Coca-Cola ( KO) looks particularly attractive at current levels. Even though the shares touched a fresh 14-year high on Monday, at $71.89, Coca-Cola is up just 3% year-to-date. But like Schlumberger, this is a stock that doesn't appear to be living up to the strength of its underlying fundamentals. Coca-Cola is firing on all cylinders, while its chief competitor, Pepsico ( PEP) has made a few missteps of late. Coca-Cola posted solid fourth-quarter results last month as both sales and earnings came in ahead of expectations, on 5% global volume growth. Management also boosted the quarterly dividend for the 50th consecutive year to $0.51 a share (2.8% yield). The company's payout is 1.5 times higher than the average yield of the S&P 500, and can be comfortably covered with earnings. With that in mind, I believe that Coca-Cola can continue to set new highs and generate a double-digit total return by the end of the year. Readers Also Like: >> 18 Dividend Stocks That Will Outlive the Hype >> 10 Dividend Stocks Held by Top Fund Managers