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Barron's favorite stocks for 2011

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The U.S. stock market has logged its second straight year of gains following the crushing losses stocks suffered in 2008. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index entered the final session of 2010 with a yearly gain of 13% and a total return of 15%, while small- and midcapitalization indexes rose about 26% for the year. Wall Street strategists generally are bullish about the market's prospects in 2011, with the 10 surveyed last month by Barron's expecting stocks to rise an average of 10%. Bulls predominate among investment managers, as well. If the stars aren't aligned for another winning year, the fundamentals, from an improving global economy to low interest rates, strong corporate balance
sheets and inexpensive equity valuations, surely are. The S&P 500, at about 1260, is valued at 13 times projected 2011 profits—hardly excessive given historical valuations, low Treasury yields and short-term interest rates near zero.

Given this constructive backdrop, which stocks might reward investors best in 2011? Barron's has identified 10 big-caps worth buying now, including ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart Stores, Pfizer, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors and Cisco Systems . Most of our picks have been the subject of bullish articles in the publication in the past year, and many trailed the market averages in 2010.

Our preference for the market's giants reflects our view that they finally will best smaller stocks after lagging for much of the past decade. Noted money managers such as Bill Miller of Legg Mason and Jeremy Grantham of GMO also are bullish on big stocks. The price/earnings ratios of many big stocks are relatively low, and many of these companies are using their ample profits to boost dividends and repurchase shares. If stocks surprise the bulls and have a bad year, these 10 ought to perform better than the averages. Most trade for price/earnings multiples on par with the broader market's, or lower.

Our list includes a diversified group of companies, many paying ample dividends, in key industry sectors. All could rise 20% or more in 2011. Here's a closer look at the 10.
URL : http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052970203822504576048192497641466.html#article...
  
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