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Tickers in this Article: GE, IBM, HPQ, AA
There are a number of bellwether stocks that look downright attractive given the recent sell off in the markets. Below are some of the larger-name companies that come to mind.

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It's Electric!
General Electric (NYSE:GE) is a company that has been of interest for a while - actually, since insiders started buying the stock aggressively when the broader markets were hemorrhaging way back in the early part of 2009. Clearly the stock has done well since the first part of 2009. However, the recent pullback in share price from more than $19 to under $18 has piqued my excitement.

General Electric is often looked to as a bellwether because it sells appliances and is involved in a number of businesses that are considered tied to the health of the economy. My belief is that the company still has the potential to fare very well on the earnings front over the long run. Plus, it has been performing on the earnings front recently as well, which strikes my fancy more than a little. Data indicates it has exceeded expectations consistently four quarters straight, which is a solid achievement in any environment.

But even beyond that there was a recent news story that caught my eye; Reuters reported on Wednesday: "General Electric Co. (GE.N) expects to tell shareholders by the end of this year it is ready to raise its dividend as well as resume share buybacks, and return to profit growth in 2010, its CEO said." A company generally wouldn't ponder increasing its dividend unless it was quite confident in its future financial abilities.

IBM Can Really Compute
International Business Machines
(NYSE: IBM) is considered by many to be a bellwether for technology companies. The company has generated a great deal of attention for itself because it consistently exceeded analyst expectations this past year. Moreover, as the economy continues to improve, demand for IBM's desktops, laptops and other devices could be in large demand. My feel is that this is a stock that could trade into the $160s. The stock has been down a bit since mid April. Incidentally, in tech Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is another favorite of mine. It trades at under 11 times this year's estimate. It also has come down in price recently. In early May HPQ was trading at more than $50, now it trades at under $47.

I'm Not Canning It
Alcoa (NYSE:AA), the aluminum giant that many market watchers pay attention to when it kicks off an earnings season, is another company that deserves a look. The Pittsburgh-based company seems like its wares will be in demand as the economy recovers. AA trades at about 17.3 times this year's estimate, which isn't a big bargain, but I see this as more of a play on the future demand for aluminum and the company's future earnings potential. The stock had traded north of $14 toward the latter part of April and now trades under $12.

Bottom Line
The bellwethers listed above are attractive particularly so with the recent market sell off. On the earnings front each of these companies has the potential to do well over time. Of the above, I am particularly fond of General Electric. My feel is that GE could trade in the middle $20s within the next one to two years based upon the earnings estimates for 2010 and 2011. (For more recent stock analysis, take a look at 5 Business-Development Companies Worth A Look.)

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