And the Best Stock for 2008 Is ...

Iowa has its caucuses; we Fools have ours. In both cases, the people have spoken. Oh, how they've spoken.

Joining Sen. Barack Obama and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on the winners podium today is ... (rips envelope) ... Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and CEO Steve Jobs. Bring that black turtleneck up here, sir.

What's that? He's attending a "Sprockets" marathon with Saturday Night Live alum Mike Myers? So be it. Congrats, Steve. And congrats, Mac addicts. You win in a blowout. On the last day of last year, Fools pitched 18 stocks as "the one" for 2008. You took your own opinions to Motley Fool CAPS and rated these the top seven, in order:

Top Vote-Getters

Score

Apple

21.5%

General Electric

8.2%

Buffalo Wild Wings

7.0%

Starbucks

6.8%

Garmin

6.0%

Johnson & Johnson

5.7%

IMAX

5.4%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

Who's your Mac daddy?
As a longtime Mac user and the Fool who suited up to defend the iEmpire, I'm thrilled with the results. But I'm also not surprised. Apple isn't just a good stock, it's a great company with a very loyal following.

Which, frankly, is a problem.

Even though top-rated stocks can be wonderfully lucrative, loyalty is a troublesome trait when it comes to stock picking. Companies aren't sports teams and shouldn't be treated as such. You think Apple is going to win because the market hasn't fairly valued the impact of the iPhone? Or that retail will continue to boost sales far more than even the most optimistic analysts project? Turns out I agree, and I'm planning to open a position in Apple to take advantage.

Even the losers ...
But the Mac's daddy wasn't the only great business in this contest. Many top-rated stocks were in the race, including Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) , whose competitive advantages run so deep and wide that shareholders are practically bathing themselves in cash. Let's take a look at some of the runners-up.

General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , which, in many ways, is the perfect Rule Maker, whose history of outsized dividend growth adds to an already interesting stock story.

Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD  ) , a stock I still own, which has taken an unfair beating at the hands of a wildly flailing Mr. Market. Yet this company has one of the best management teams in the restaurant biz.

Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) , which has performed for investors like a caffeine addict coming down from a triple-shot espresso. That's understandable given recent history, but Mr. Market values the shares as if little growth remains. Color me thrilled.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) , which hasn't suffered as much as B-dubs or S-bux yet, is down on concerns over drug-releasing stents. (Concerns, which, by the way, appear to be overblown.) Fortunately, investors are getting paid a healthy 2.50% dividend to wait for the turnaround.

And, rounding out our top seven is IMAX (Nasdaq: IMAX  ) , which appears best poised to profit from the digital movie blockbusters of the not-too-distant future.

Great stocks, all, including those that didn't make our top seven. And yet, for the nearly 80,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community, Apple is the best of the best. Should it also be the one for your portfolio? That's a question only you can answer, Fool.

Happy 2008!


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