Barron's sees stock market rise
Reuters Business News | January 02, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street strategists are bullish about the market's prospects in 2011, expecting stocks to rise an average of 10 percent, with big-cap shares like Exxon Mobil Corp <XOM.N>, Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N> and Pfizer Inc <PFE.N> leading the way, Barron's reported on Sunday.

The business weekly noted the U.S. stock market just logged its second straight year of gains following the crushing losses stocks suffered in 2008.

"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," Barron's said in its cover story.

The weekly identified 10 big-caps worth buying now, including Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart Stores and Pfizer.

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It also tapped JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N>, General Motors Co <GM.N>, Cisco Systems Inc <CSCO.O>, United Continental Holdings Inc <UAL.N>, Barrick Gold Corp <ABX.N><ABX.TO>, Entergy Corp <ETR.N> and PepsiCo Inc <PEP.N> to reward investors. All could rise 20 percent or more in 2011, it said.

"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," Barron's said.

"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."

It noted that such money managers such as Bill Miller of Legg Mason and Jeremy Grantham of GMO 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," it said.

"If stocks surprise the bulls and have a bad year, these 10 ought to perform better than the averages," Barron's said. It noted that most trade at price/earnings multiples on a par, or lower than the broader market's.

(Reporting by Steve James; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)