Thursday's Big Stocks for Big Profits

When large caps make a run for it, Fools pay attention.

Think of Microsoft. After years of poor performance, Mr. Softy and his $300-billion-plus market cap began making a move last month, enriching investors who bought and stayed in.

Hence this column. For as much money as there is to be made in fast movers like BioScrip and Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ  ) , both of which hit new 52-week highs this week, the turtle often beats the hare. Here's a look at Thursday's finest terrapins, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:

Company

Closing Price

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

% Change

52-Week Range

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN)

$54.79

****

2.16%

$48.30-$76.95

Tyco Electronics (NYSE:TEL)

$33.10

***

1.85%

$31.31-$41.28

Covidien (NYSE:COV)

$39.00

*****

0.96%

$36.90-$49.70

Liberty Media Capital (NASDAQ:LCAPA)

$114.16

****

0.92%

$86.53-$129.72

Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC)

$25.43

**

0.47%

$24.58-$44.00

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool CAPS.

Shares of our top gainer, biotech Amgen, benefited from favorable developments at the Centers for Disease Control regarding its drugs for treating certain types of anemia. That, in turn, led to an upgrade of its stock by analysts at Lehman Brothers. No doubt, that's good news. But we Fools prefer buy-to-hold stock stories. Are any of our large-cap leaders worth owning over the next three to five years?

Most of them, yes -- if you believe the 74,000-plus professional and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS community. But a top star rating isn't always a bullish indicator. If it were,  Apple, which has spent much of its life in CAPS as a two-star stock, would have long ago had a five-star rating.

Knock, knock ... Cable guy!
So let's eschew the five-star stocks here. They're too obvious. Not so with two-star-rated Time Warner Cable, which gets the thumbs-down from many investors because of what they see as an already uncertain growth story that could worsen thanks to the inevitable onslaught of programming delivered via the Web. As CAPS investor stockpitcher put it earlier this month: "Cable is dead to IPTV!" (In case you're behind the curve, this is TV streamed over the Web.)

Perhaps. Trouble is, IPTV isn't exactly taking off, either. AT&T (NYSE: T  ) , which is expected to lead the revolution with its U-verse service, recently cut its estimate for the 2008 rollout of U-verse by 1 million homes. Management also told investors to expect a $500 million increase in related capital spending.

Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable continues to be a cash flow machine:

Free cash flow

Trailing 12 Months

2006

2005

2004

In millions

$874

$821

$565

$949

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

I'm not at all sure if Time Warner Cable is a value at today's multiple of 23 times earnings. But I'd not be so willing to go thumbs-down, either. To the contrary: With steady and modestly growing cash flows, I'd be tempted to open a speculative position on any significant pullback in the shares.

What about you? What would you do? Let us know by signing up for CAPS today. It's 100% free to participate.

See you back here Monday for more of the best of the biggest.

Cap off your day with related CAPS Foolishness:


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