The 10 Most-Read Articles of 2012

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In 2011, of the top 10 most-read articles, eight were dividend-focused -- which isn't much of a surprise, given the hunt for yield in a low-interest rate environment.

Our 2012 year-in-review season is in high gear, and today we're going to look back at this year's 10 most-read articles from The Motley Fool. The theme this year? Opportunism. Nine of our top 10 articles share specific stock ideas. Here they are, with some brief notes:

1. 1 Stock to Buy in January, by Anand Chokkavelu, Jan. 3, 2012
Writer, editor, and analyst Anand Chokkavelu dominates this year's list -- four of his articles made the top 10, when no other writer had more than one on the list. The top eyeball-getter was this stock-idea-specific article, which gave his reasons for being bullish on Staples back in January.

Anand backed up his article with a CAPScall, which you can see on his CAPS profile page. Unfortunately, Staples is down 18.4% since last Jan. 3. He had better luck a few months later ...

2. 1 Stock to Buy in April, by Anand Chokkavelu, April 5, 2012
Bank of America
was the stock featured in early April; since then, it's up 25%.

3. 1 Stock to Buy in May, by Anand Chokkavelu, May 9, 2012
Anand featured Tempur-Pedic in early May, which turned out to be smack in the middle of a rough patch for the stock:

TPX Chart

TPX data by YCharts.

Since this story was published in early May, Tempur-Pedic is down about 35% -- which, again, you can view on Anand's CAPS profile page.

4. If You Could Only Buy 1 Stock ..., John Maxfield, Feb. 17, 2012
Sensing a theme? Our four most-read pieces of the year all delivered a specific stock idea. Here, John Maxfield plays a version of the if-you-were-on-a-deserted-island game and chooses the one stock he'd buy ... if he were forced to buy just one. The stock in question? Blue-chip behemoth Procter & Gamble.

5. 5 Huge Myths About Social Security, Ilan Moscovitz, Oct. 15, 2012
The only non-stock-specific article on this list, Ilan's myth-busting article regarding Social Security won him a "laurel" from the Columbia Journalism Review.

6. 5 Stocks to Own for 50+ Years, Nick Kapur, March 19, 2012
It's too early to judge the five stocks Nick Kapur said he'd want to own for half a century (we're only 10 months in, after all): Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), Philip Morris International, Disney, Visa, and PepsiCo. But Nick's putting his money where his mouth is: At the time his column was published, he personally owned all five.

7. Dividend Monsters to Buy After the Pullback, Morgan Housel, June 5, 2012
This has been a good year for stocks -- the S&P 500-tracking SPDRs ETF is up more than 12% year to date. But back in June, things were dire. As Morgan wrote then: "The Dow has declined in 20 of the last 25 trading sessions. That's the longest string of losses in any 25-day period going back to the 1920s."

Morgan offered a few dividend-paying "monsters" in the event of a further pullback: Johnson & Johnson, Paychex, Pfizer, and the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF.

8. 9 Stocks That Have Been Paying Uninterrupted Dividends for More Than 68 Years, Brian Richards, Feb. 10, 2012 managing editor Brian Richards details nine stocks that have shown tremendous discipline and stewardship in both paying and raising their dividend payouts to shareholders -- since Franklin Roosevelt was in the White House!

9. Why Bank of America Could Be the Dow's Biggest Winner in 2012, Anand Chokkavelu, Jan. 15, 2012
This was a prescient call -- year to date, Bank of America is up 115%. Home Depot, the second-biggest gainer in the Dow, is up 45% for the year.

10. The No-Brainer Natural Gas Investment, Austin Smith, April 1, 2012
"Natural gas is the hip commodity on Wall Street these days, and many investors are clamoring for a piece of the action," Austin wrote before dismantling the notion that there may be "no-brainer" natural gas plays. Indeed, natural gas stocks have fared poorly throughout most of 2012, and that includes two stocks Austin wrote about in this piece: Westport Innovations and Clean Energy Fuels.

We hope you enjoyed 2012. Here's to an even better 2013! Thanks for reading

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