3 Stocks to Get on Your Watchlist

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I follow quite a lot of companies, so the usefulness of a watchlist to me cannot be overstated. Without my watchlist, I'd be unable to keep up on my favorite sectors and what's really moving the market. Even worse, without my watchlist, I'd be lost when it came time to choose what stock I'm buying or shorting next.

What I intend to do as an experiment is to make every Wednesday "Watchlist Wednesday," where I'll discuss three companies that have crossed my radar in the past week and at what point I may consider taking action on these calls with my own money. Keep in mind, these aren't concrete "buy" or "sell" recommendations, nor do I guarantee I'll take action on the companies being discussed weekly. What I can promise is that you can follow my real-life transactions through my profile and that I, like everyone else here at The Motley Fool, will continue to hold the integrity of our disclosure policy in the highest regard.

Astex Pharmaceuticals (NAS: ASTX)
For those of you who thought this company was nothing more than Dacogen, think again! While hopes are high that the imminent FDA decision on the use of Dacogen to treat acute myeloid leukemia in the elderly will be favorable, last month's 10-3 vote against approving Dacogen by the Oncological Drugs Advisory Committee shows otherwise. All I can say is relax, because Astex is much more than just one drug.

Based on the company's fiscal 2012 guidance released this week, Astex's pipeline is set to have four concurrent phase 2 clinical trials offering results data before the end of 2012. The company, in combination with collaborative partner AstraZeneca, also commenced a phase 1 clinical trial on AZD3839 as a treatment for Alzheimer's. Astex ended the year with $128 million in cash and no debt, which is amazing when you consider that Astex's market value is only $170 million. Investors are practically getting an entire pipeline of potential products (say that three times fast) for $42 million. This biotech is definitely worth a look.

Liz Claiborne (NYS: LIZ)
I find it mildly comical that the retail name behind Lucky Jeans and Juicy Couture sold its namesake rights to the Liz Claiborne name to J.C. Penney (NYS: JCP) in 2011 for $267.5 million -- yet still hasn't changed its company name. Shareholders here couldn't wait for the presidential elections, because they definitely need change they can believe in.

Liz Claiborne has been unprofitable in each of the past five years, while total sales have declined since 2006 by an average of 21% annually. The one -- and I mean one -- saving grace of this company is its Lucky brand, which showed a 29% jump in sales in January and a 21% rise through Feb. 25. High-end denim remains a fairly resistant market to downswings, but India's decision this week to cut off cotton shipments could send the denim industry into a tizzy. Given that the company is now trading at 54 times forward earnings and has failed to live up to the hype on multiple occasions, it could become a short-seller's paradise.

Human Genome Sciences (NAS: HGSI)
Over the years, I've been quite critical of Human Genome Sciences. But valued at $1.5 billion (down 75% from its intraday high in 2011) and with two approved drugs in its pipeline, I can see HGS as a potential buyout candidate.

Co-developed with GlaxoSmithKline (NYS: GSK) , lupus treatment Benlysta is finally beginning to see sales tick higher. Sales in the fourth quarter grew 37% sequentially from the third quarter to $25.7 million, while total sales for the quarter, including ABthrax, its inhalation anthrax treatment, and other licensing revenue jumped 114%. HGS isn't having overwhelming success in getting doctors to write prescriptions for Benlysta, which could necessitate it to look to a larger pharmaceutical company with bigger pocketbooks and a stronger sales team to help it make the Benlysta pitch.

Foolish roundup
Is my bullishness or bearishness misplaced? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and consider following my cue by using the links below to add these three companies to your free, personalized watchlist and keep up on the latest news with each company.

Don't let your search for great stocks end here. Consider getting your copy of our latest special report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." This report details a company that our chief investment officer has described as the "Costco of Latin America," and it's yours for the low, low price of free -- so don't miss out!

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He's a total nerd when it comes to making lists. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of GlaxoSmithKline. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that believes transparency comes first.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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