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Top picks for the second half 2017

The first half of the 2017 is in the books, and so far it has been a good year for the markets.

The Dow Jones has appreciated 8.7% since the start of the year, and all the major indexes have hit record highs during the first six months. Investor optimism is high, but with the markets near record levels, a lot of investors are worried that a sell off is just around the corner.

The markets enjoyed big gains following the presidential election, and while the Trump rally lost some of its power after Republicans and the White House were unable to work together to pass the legislation that was promised on the campaign trail, but overall economic conditions remain upbeat enough to warrant additional market gains.

It is always prudent to prepare for a possible sell off, and to have a plan in place in case such a sell off occurs, but it would be foolish to pull out of the market while optimism is at such a high.

There are still plenty of great buys out there, but given the recent market rally you really need to make sure to focus on stocks that have a clear advantage over the competition, and viable reasons to expect additional stock appreciation.

If you are looking for stocks to buy for the second half of the year, consider these five stocks that have the potential to close out the year on a strong note.

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Michael Fowlkes

Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va.