5 All-Star Stocks on Fire

When the clock's ticking down and the game's on the line, which of your teammates do you trust to sink a winning shot? Sure, you could dish the rock to your resident superstar, but what if he's playing ice-cold at the moment? So instead, you pass to the guy with the hot hand, the one who'll be deemed en fuego tomorrow on ESPN.

Momentum investors are looking for stocks in a similar state of sizzle, but momentum by itself will get you only so far. I prefer to find high-quality stocks that also have some positive inertia on their side. It's like moving the ball out to your team's superstars when they have a hot hand.

To find these league-leading winners, I cross-referenced a simple momentum screen with data from The Motley Fool's CAPS investing community. Each of the companies below is up 30% or more over the past year, now trades within 5% of its 52-week high, and has been rated highly by CAPS players.

Stock

12-Month Change

Percent Below 52-Week High

CAPS Rating

Owens-Illinois (NYSE:OI)

119%

3.9%

****

Range Resources (NYSE:RRC)

90%

3.2%

****

Weatherford International (NYSE:WFT)

61%

1.6%

*****

Petrohawk Energy (NYSE:HK)

53%

1.6%

*****

Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN)

51%

3.5%

*****

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's), and CAPS as of March 31.

At first glance, this sure looks like a high-quality group. But, as always, I highly advise taking a close look before you throw a bounce pass in the direction of any of these stocks.

OI's ROIC
Based on the number of times fund manager Janus (NYSE: JNS  ) shows up in the news feed for Owens-Illinois, you might assume the company was in the money management business. In fact, the company makes glass containers -- it just so happens that its stock ended up being a favorite over at Janus and helped boost the performance of a few Janus fund managers.

Barron's profiled one of these managers -- David Decker of Janus' Contrarian Fund -- a few weeks back. The write-up noted that Decker is a big fan of ROIC and noticed early on that Owens-Illinois' management was starting to take actions that would boost the company's ROIC.

The results so far have been noticeable in both the results and the stock. After muddling along for a few years with ROIC in the 5%-7% range, the metric has jumped into double digits for the past three quarters. The stock, meanwhile, has more than doubled.

The question, though, is whether there's still time to ride this wave. In a tough economy, a business like glass bottle manufacturing may see less volatility, though it's notable that the company is sensitive to energy prices. For those particularly worried about the U.S., it should be comforting that the company gets a significant portion of its revenue from overseas. And of course, management is also likely targeting further improvement in the company's returns. Right now, Wall Street analysts are projecting that Owens-Illinois will boost earnings per share around 40% in 2008, to $4.09, which puts the stock's forward price-to-earnings ratio at just less than 14.

On CAPS, All-Star cobradon is one of the 212 investors who think Owens-Illinois' stock will continue to outpace the broader market. Cobradon also highlighted the emerging ROIC improvement that management has been engineering:

Analysts felt strong conviction for the company because of management's focus on improving returns on invested capital. It closed down unneeded plants and got rid of unprofitable customers.

So, do you think Owens-Illinois deserves a place on your All-Star team? You can share your thoughts on it, or check out more of what your fellow Fools had to say about it or any of the other stocks above by stopping by CAPS. And while you're there, you can also take a peek at a few more of the 5,500-plus other stocks rated on CAPS.

I think I heard a boo-ya somewhere out there. Thanks, Stuart Scott!

More CAPS Foolishness:


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