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Ranking the 10 Best Stocks for 2012

8 of 10 experts' picks are at double-digit gains year-to-date

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No. 1: MAKO Surgical

Mako SurgicalCurrent Return: +46%
: David Gardner

Interestingly enough, though many of the stocks on our Best Stocks for 2012 buy list include broad-based plays on an economic recovery, the top performer on the entire list is a very niche medical company that is seeing strength on a very narrow product line rather than any overall optimism.

MAKO Surgical (NASDAQ:MAKO) was pitched by Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner, and his original write-up had the headline, “This Innovative Joint Replacement Stock Will Thrive in 2012.” MAKO has a cutting-edge joint replacement technology that helps reduce the amount of recovery time and rehab for patients, and its surgery gear is in high demand.

This is a highly speculative play, of course, since it’s a small-cap medical device company. But based on recent stock performance and momentum behind the company, it appears that MAKO could have a blockbuster technology on its hands that is playing right into the demographic trends of aging baby boomers in need of a higher quality of life in retirement.

Is 46% in less than two months too much too soon? Maybe. But if not, David’s pick could easily prove a doubler in 2012.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of Write him at, follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook. Jeff Reeves holds a position in Alcoa, but no other publicly traded stocks.

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