stocks to buy in 2012

Stocks to Buy: Why Warren Buffett Is Hunting in Europe

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Investment guru Warren Buffett is looking for stocks to buy now in struggling Europe- a region many investors refuse to touch thanks to the destructive Eurozone debt crisis.  

But the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A; BRK.B) CEO told CNBC he's bought a couple smaller businesses in Europe over the last 12 months and also took positions in some European equities.

"We've bought some European stocks," Buffett said. "And the fact that there are troubles in Europe, and there are plenty of troubles, and they're not going away fast, does not mean you don't buy stocks. We bought stocks when the United States was in trouble, in 2008 and it was in huge trouble, and we spent $15.5 billion in three weeks in between September 15 and October 10."

One reason for Buffett's interest in Europe: plenty of cheap buys.

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4 Stocks to Buy in the Exploding Cybersecurity Market

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There's a story out of England I heard recently that's one of the most ironic tales of how developments in technology - cybersecurity, in particular - need to be taken more seriously.

The story started in 2009, when 18-year-old Nicholas Webber was arrested for using fraudulent credit card details to pay for a penthouse suite at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, Central London.

When police examined Webber's laptop, they found details of 100,000 stolen credit cards linked to losses totaling 16.2 million pounds ($24.6 million)

Turns out Webber ran the Internet crime forum GhostMarket. The site allowed hackers to meet up virtually, create computer viruses and share stolen IDs and private credit card data.

In 2011 Webber was sentenced to five years in prison. Once in prison Webber was allowed to participate in a computer class.

And earlier this year, he hacked the prison computer system.

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Stocks to Buy: Three Small Cap Stocks for Safety & Dividend Growth

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Here's how to get rich in stocks: Buy elite businesses at a good price and let the dividends compound over the years.   That's the safe, steady road to building true wealth.

The key is in selecting the right stocks to buy.

However, most investors starved for solid dividend-payers often overlook one of the safest and most lucrative sectors - small cap dividend stocks

Instead they focus on large cap businesses like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) or McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD).

But therein lies the problem--everybody knows they are great companies. That alone can drive their share prices to dizzying heights.

So investors who limit their choices to the big blue chips can end up paying too much-while missing out on another category of stocks that could make them even more money.

In short, they miss the quality small-cap dividend-payers. Here's why that is a big mistake for most investors.  

Small Cap Stocks to Buy

Small-cap stocks can be an individual investor's best friend.

In the period between 1927 and 2009, small-cap value stocks returned 14.9% per year.
Meanwhile, returns on large-cap value stocks averaged roughly 3% less per year.

So why do these small frys outperform their larger cousins?

First of all, their small size makes them fly under the radar of many institutional investors. 

What's more, mutual funds and pension funds have billions to invest, making it nearly impossible to buy and sell small stocks without having a huge influence on the price. As a result, a fund manager may find himself chasing a stock higher as he tries to take a meaningful position simply because he's the only big buyer.

Second, because the big fish tend to attract the big bucks, small caps are often ignored by Wall Street analysts.  Most analysts simply aren't about to spend precious hours researching a company that no one follows.

So "in-the-know investors" buying small cap dividend payers face a lot less competition and can pick up shares at a good price.

Plus, many of these small cap dividend machines actually have a lot in common with their big brethren. 

Like many large-cap, dividend-paying stocks, these companies generate tons of cash flow, have great brand names and wide competitive moats in their respective industries.

More importantly, they also have a history of dividend growth. They just happen to be much smaller than giants like Coke (NYSE: KO)and Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG).

The bottom line: Investors who are willing to accept a slightly higher degree of risk should consider investing in small-cap value stocks that pay dividends.

Three Small Cap Dividend Machines

With that in mind, here are three small caps that are members of the Russell Global Small Cap Dividend Achievers Index.  To qualify they must have raised their dividends annually for more than 10 years and meet minimum cash volumes. 

In short, these are companies that throw off plenty of cash and safe dividends.

They include:

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"Safe" Stocks You Need to Dump Right Now

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Many investors have one or two "safe" stocks they own that, for whatever reason, have become sentimental favorites they never consider selling.

These companies typically are household names, large, and considered by almost everyone - even fund managers - to be safe investments.

That means even if you're not holding such stocks in your personal portfolio, you may own mutual funds that own them, or they could lurk somewhere in your 401(k).

Many "safe" stocks are really hidden time bombs, ready to blow a big hole in your portfolio at any moment.

And as Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald points out, even the most stable, veteran companies can morph into portfolio-destroying dogs.

"Just because you think a stock is safe doesn't mean that the markets will treat it that way," Fitz-Gerald said.

What's more, he said, is that "the very definition of safe has changed," noting how the massive leverage common on Wall Street can unravel a company almost overnight, as happened with Lehman Brothers at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

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The Best Stocks to Buy, According to Top Strategist

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It doesn't hurt to have help narrowing down the best stocks to buy - especially when the advice comes from one of the country's best stock analysts.

Tobias Levkovich, Citigroup Inc.'s (NYSE: C) chief equity strategist, has sent a note to clients consisting of 18 recommended stocks and their end-of-year price targets. We've sifted through the list to bring you the 10 stocks that have the highest projected returns based on Citi's targets.

Those returns range from 10.14% to 27.27%.

Here are the companies and their price targets, accompanied by a summary of Citi's analysis for each stock:

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Stocks To Buy Now: Profit from Blockbuster New Drugs in 2013

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One sector offering stocks to buy now is an industry that's been prepping for huge product deliveries in 2013.

I'm talking about Big Pharma.

After being pummeled by generic rivals for the past few years, a few big pharmaceutical companies are fighting back with a new wave of blockbuster drugs that will hit the market in 2013.

More than ever, Big Pharma companies need new revenue streams to battle the "patent cliff - replacing fading profits from drugs that spawned generic competition.

Last year alone, the industry suffered from the expiration of patents for such lucrative name-brand drugs as AstraZeneca PLC's (NYSE ADR: AZN) Seroquel, Pfizer Inc.'s (NYSE: PFE) Lipitor and Wyeth's Protonix, which total accounted for nearly $36 billion in U.S. sales in 2011 and 2012.

But help is on the way.

Pharmaceutical firms logged 39 new drug approvals last year - the most since 1996 - and there are signs the trend could continue through 2013, according to Reuters.

Drugmakers are betting that a new wave of medicines for cancer, diabetes and heart disease will shape up as tomorrow's blockbusters.

European drugmakers, for example, have the potential to deliver new drugs with peak annual sales of $64 billion in 2013-2015 while patent losses will be only $12 billion, according to Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) estimates.

No doubt about it - Big Pharma is taking aim at generics with both barrels.

That could mean fat profits for savvy investors who focus on high-quality companies with strong late-stage pipelines.

Here are three that are loaded for 2013.

Stocks to Buy: Big Biotech Delivers Big Profits

Innovations in biological science - or biotech - are evolving at the speed of light.

In fact, leading edge biotech products and breakthroughs are saving thousands of lives every day.

And business is booming for one biotech bellwether ...

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Stocks to Buy in 2013: Don't Miss the New Developed Market Leaders

When looking for stocks to buy in 2013, many investors turn to the markets that outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index in 2012.

For example, they might like Germany. The MSCI iShares Germany Index Fund (NYSE: EWG) soared more than 32% in 2012.

That's far better than the 15% gain from the S&P 500. It's also much stronger than the 15% gain from the iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (NYSE: EFA), which tracks developed-market equities in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Far East.

But amid slowing growth and frothy equity valuations, German stocks appear unlikely to continue such performance in 2013.

That's why investors should check out these other developed market players ready to soar in 2013. They're all expected to deliver gains that could rival Germany's explosive 2012 profits.



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Stocks to Buy Now: Bet on these Three Casino Stocks for 2013

Rather than being suckered by the glamour and neon lights at casinos, savvy investors looking for stocks to buy now are putting the odds on their side and betting on "the house."

That's because casino stocks are promising big returns for shareholders.

Plus, the gaming industry is still in the early stages of what should be a sustained recovery from the financial crisis that had lightened gamblers' wallets.

But identifying the best casino stocks to buy now involves more than a weekend jaunt to Vegas.

Due diligence on gaming stocks now requires a look at gambling's biggest hotspot - Macau, a former Portuguese colony that is now a special administrative region under Chinese rule.



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How to Choose the Best Global Value Stocks to Buy

It's no surprise investors are having a hard time finding strong stocks to buy.

After all, nobody's getting too excited about the recent rally. Europe is about to implode, Japan's in a coma, China's suffering a slowdown and the United States faces the possible fiscal cliff.

That's why I was talking to fund manager George Fraise of SGA Global Growth (MUTF: SGAGX) the other day, to find out where the growth - and potential for profit - is in the global market.

Fraise said he's very bullish on global value stocks, and outlined his strategy for picking the right ones.



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Stocks to Buy Now: Don't Miss This Looming M&A Wave

As investors hunting for the best stocks to buy, we often get so caught up in the big names of the day that we miss a powerful opportunity right in our community.

I'm talking about community bank stocks, and they're about to offer you one of the biggest profit opportunities of the next few years.

In fact, patient long-term investors could see profits similar to those enjoyed in the 1990s as banks recovered and consolidated.

Stocks to Buy: Why It's Time for Small Banks

Community banks usually have just a few branches and less than $1 billion in deposits. They have seen their stock prices fall dramatically over the past few years from the peaks reached in the 2006 boom days.

Between 2006 and the depths of the credit crisis, the NASDAQ Bank Index plunged by more than 60% and has not really recovered. Some of the poorly managed ones lost it all and were liquidated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

Those that are left should benefit from the eventual recovery of the real estate markets - but the truth is most of these banks won't be around that long.

That's because as the credit crisis unfolded legislators and regulators were quick to react - or overreact. They applied new rules and regulation not just to the large institutions that caused most of the problems, but also to the smaller community banks.

With literally hundreds of new banking regulations on the way, many smaller banks simply will not be able to comply and still operate profitably. It will also be difficult for smaller banks to access the capital markets to raise the money needed to grow.

The most logical course of action will be to sell out to a larger institution.



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