And the Best Stock for 2009 Is …

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For everyone who wants to get 2008 behind them as soon as humanly possible, you've got just one more day to get through. And what better way to look forward to a more prosperous New Year than to see which stock has been crowned the best stock for 2009?

To help you make your shopping list, we looked at 14 great prospects that look likely to survive and thrive in the challenging economic environment we're facing right now. But rather than just picking one ourselves, we turned to our Motley Fool CAPS community to separate the best from the rest.

Judging from the results, investors put a premium on the bluest of blue chips for the coming year. And in the end, we had one of the closest races we've ever had for the top spot.

Honorable mention
Three stocks fell just short of cracking the top three. Pfizer (Nasdaq: PFE  ) was a somewhat reluctant pick for Fool contributor Brian Orelli, but investors see promise in a decent pipeline combined with a dominant cash position and healthy dividend. Search engine leader Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) may have fallen on hard times in 2008, but cheap valuations are just one reason why many find the stock attractive now. And even with oil down $100 from its highs, ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) keeps raking in the cash -- and shareholder interest -- from its position atop the energy industry.

A love/hate relationship with tobacco
Third place goes to tobacco giant Altria (NYSE: MO  ) . Even after spinning off sexier components like Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT  ) and its international division, Fool contributor Morgan Housel liked what was left -- a boring cash cow. CAPS members agreed, as Altria gathered 13.1% of the vote.

Don't turn out the lights yet
Falling just short of the top spot was conglomerate General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) . Despite suffering from financial woes, GE's growing exposure to the energy industry could be the growth catalyst it needs to emerge from the ailing economy a winner. 17% of voters agreed with the pick.

This winner doesn't need a Band-Aid
With 17.7% of the vote, winner Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) just eked its way into first place. When consumers are clamping down, it's good to have dozens of brand-name products with built-in constant demand, and J&J delivers on that score. With a history of strong sales, earnings, and dividend increases, investors are looking to the blue-chip company to deliver great returns in 2009.

All of our selections got strong support, including those that didn't make the top six. Are you part of our 125,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community yet? Head on over and pick one of our top selections for your portfolio. It's free, but the experience you gain could be priceless, Fool.

Here's to a profitable 2009!

Pfizer, Kraft Foods, and Johnson & Johnson are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. The Fool owns shares of Pfizer. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns shares of General Electric and Altria. The Fool's disclosure policy makes you a winner.

Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (148)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 02, 2009, at 3:30 PM, sschultz787 wrote:

    I'm a new investor, will you comment on the stocks I have purchased ADCT, CNOA, JASO,PGOG AND SIRI, Would really like to know what you think they'll do this comming year.

    Thank you

    Steven Schultz

  • Report this Comment On January 02, 2009, at 6:15 PM, bricks79 wrote:

    It's interesting to see a pick like GE, which has always been a finance company in disguise. Now that this point is out in the open, don't count on manufacturing of infrastructure products or healthcare to make up the other 55% of revenues. GE will be under pressure all of 2009 as GE Capital takes more writeoffs.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2009, at 7:36 PM, OGB22 wrote:

    Your system is the above report it tells me is not a valid email. Wrong, its what I signed in with and have used since 1993


  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2009, at 8:25 PM, rakinthebux wrote:

    I love the way 08 ended and 09 is beginning. Dry shipping (GNC) is hauling me money.

    Being the contratian that i am I got the reversal I expected on Natural Gas treatment (XTEX) and credit card company with a long strong history. They refused government funding. I liked that and bet strong the end of 08 (ADVNA). If half of their dividends hold I will be strongly rewarded. Hoping to hold these for YEARS.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2009, at 8:34 PM, rakinthebux wrote:

    I forgot to mention ADVNA has well in excess of one billion in cash!! In this market that money can go a long way. Check out their profile and how the company was innovated. Strong and conservative leadership holding the line. Due to institutional ownership holding tight this stock was able to be bought at less than $1.40 share last week.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2009, at 9:05 PM, BlueLakeVentures wrote:

    My predictions for the ten best stocks of 2009 are

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2009, at 7:00 AM, chopperjack wrote:

    I am looking for something under 1 dollar and I do not mind big risk, any ideas ?

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2009, at 12:56 AM, rakinthebux wrote:

    i say it again. look at XTEX and GNC. The dry shippers sails are coming in! Who has been long on PLD? What do you suggest in the coming weeks?

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