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Stocks & Bonds

A Winning Crop for 2009

Our eight stock picks for the past year gained an average of 24% (not including dividends) from the publication of our January 2009 issue through November 6, easily surpassing the 15% gain of Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. Seven of the eight picks were in positive territory, and the eighth, Johnson & Johnson (symbol JNJ) finished almost exactly where it started.

Our best pick was search-engine behemoth Google (GOOG), which gained 66% despite fears a year ago that the online-advertising market would be slow to recover from the recession. Accenture (ACN), a consulting and outsourcing firm, and American Tower (AMT), which owns and manages wireless-communications towers, gained 29% and 27%, respectively. Database-software giant Oracle (ORCL) was up 22%. Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO), a maker of scientific instruments, and Automatic Data Processing (ADP), the leading payroll-outsourcing firm, each gained 19%.