Pro Picks for the New Year

It's that time of year where the market of 2012 takes a backseat to market of 2013 and all the investment picks that come with it. In the upcoming weeks, I will unveil what stocks I like best for 2013. But brace yourself -- my picks will probably be widely hated by Mr. Market, as my top pick in 2012 was Bank of America (BAC), which thanks to last week's nice advance is up more than 80% year to date. In the meantime, let's peek at what other investment pros like for next year. 

Chuck Akre of the $1.2 billion Akre Focus Fund suggests a very controversial name, Moody's (MCO), as one of his top picks. No matter what you think of Moody's, Akre's thesis is simple: no one can access the debt markets without a rating from Moody's. That condition certainly gives Moody's a significant competitive advantage and, most of all, pricing power. The only wrinkle for investors is that Moody's shares are sitting at a 52 week high of nearly $50 a share, so it appears that Mr. Market has looked past the red tape. Moody's shares are up by more than 40% in 2012, but that certainly doesn't mean underperformance in 2013. But 2012 was a year when corporations rushed to tap the low-interest-rate debt markets, which was surely good for Moody's. Given the Federal Reserve's stance to keep rates low past 2013, perhaps Moody's will enjoy a double dip in 2013....507 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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