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Top 5 Blue-Chip Stocks for January

For a smooth transition into 2012, capitalize on these stocks

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Reynolds American

Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI)Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI) is the ultimate value stock. After releasing Q3 earnings results in late October, the tobacco giant increased its already-hefty dividend by 5.7%. A few weeks later, company leadership authorized a massive $2.5 billion stock buyback program to be carried out over the next two-and-a-half years. And signs are pointing to tremendous Q4 operating results when the company releases earnings on Jan. 30.

Analysts currently expect the company to grow earnings by 15%, a significantly higher rate than the 9.9% forecast for the rest of the tobacco industry. Also, in the past month, analysts have revised their earnings estimates 3% higher, whereas they have decreased their earnings estimates for many of its competitors — analyst earnings revisions like this typically precede earnings surprises.

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