Companies to Watch Next Week, Next Year

Investors are either getting a lot of goodies or a massive lump of coal this week. As politicians work to hammer out a fiscal cliff deal by the New Year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) eagerly awaits the results of those negotiations. Friday's close leaves the index at 13,190.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , even more so than other Dow companies, has a lot to gain from a quick agreement. The stock, as a recovering major bank with deep roots in the macroeconomy, has tended to sink or soar with each day that the markets move one direction. In 2012 it has mostly soared, having more than doubled in a year that saw improving finances and increased mortgage lending from the struggling financial company.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) also has a heckuva lot to lose from fiscal cliff talks. The aerospace leader could lose billions in contracts with the government if the defense budget is cut dramatically.

With a critical eye to the next year, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) also looks to be moving into a tougher environment. Bitter rival Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) is working on a so-called "X" phone at its hardware unit Motorola. Google's investment represents a more aggressive approach to the mobile market that threatens Apple's dominance in smartphone profit share. 

Next year will also see Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) retool its business strategy to increase revenues; the iconic social networking company has started to charge users $1 to send messages to non-friends. The model is similar to those used by dating sites like IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s (NASDAQ: IACI  ) Match.com, which uses Facebook to help suitors find other compatible singles ready to mingle. The online dating market is thought to be a huge opportunity for Facebook that it has not yet totally taken advantage of. 

After the world's most-hyped IPO turned out to be a dud, most investors probably don't even want to think about shares of Facebook. But there are things every investor needs to know about this company. We've outlined them in our newest premium research report. There's a lot more to Facebook than meets the eye, so read up on whether there is anything to "like" about it today, and we'll tell you whether we think Facebook deserves a place in your portfolio. Access your report by clicking here.


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