Comeback Candidates

Focusing on future potential rather than past performance, this screen finds 17 stocks that have slipped but still appear promising

By Numer de Guia, CFA

Equities have remained fairly strong in the past 12 months. Exhibit A: A return of 18.1% for the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index over that time (through June 25). But the stock market's rising tide hasn't lifted all boats -- even some issues with top investment rankings from Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services.

Of course, we would always like our top-ranked stocks to maintain a uniform upward trajectory, but it doesn't always work out that way. Our analysts focus on stocks' potential for capital gains in the near- to intermediate-term, not on past performance. Our highest marks go to those issues ranked 4 STARS (accumulate) and 5 STARS (buy). S&P Equity Research analysts believe these stocks have the greatest potential to outperform the overall market in the next 6 to 12 months.

For this week's screen, we decided to find stocks that have lost ground over the past 12 months but are still considered promising candidates for capital gains in the months ahead. Below are those issues ranked 4 STARS or 5 STARS that have lost value in the past 12 months, in contrast to the S&P 500's solid performance. Could these 17 stocks bounce back? Based on their STARS rankings, S&P's equity analysts think they just might.

Company/ticker S&P STARS Rank
Panera Bread (PNRA ) 4
Novellus Systems(NVLS ) 4
Millennium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM ) 4
BCE Inc. (BCE ) 4
Amkor Technology (AMKR ) 4
Nvidia (NVDA ) 4
CenturyTel (CTL ) 4
Icos (ICOS ) 4
Intersil (ISIL ) 4
Amgen (AMGN ) 5
Entercom Communications (ETM ) 4
InterActiveCorp (IACI ) 4
Westwood One (WON ) 4
BEA Systems (BEAS ) 5
Nokia (NOK ) 4
Human Genome Sciences (HGSI ) 4
QLogic (QLGC ) 4

De Guia is an analyst for Standard & Poor's Portfolio Services

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