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If the first few months of the year were a party, this week was a reminder that the stock market can still dole out some pain. Though headlines at the beginning of the week talked about a market "plunge," the drop for the week really wasn't all that bad. Even so, if Alcoa's estimate-topping earnings report hadn't helped pull the market back up for a couple of days, the bloodletting could have been even worse.
By the time the dust had settled on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) had shed 1.6%, while the broader Russell 3000 lost 2%. Though stocks were broadly getting beaten up, there were still some stocks that were shining.
The week's big winners
AOL was one of the biggest winners this week across the entire market. Yes, that AOL. Shares of the one-time Internet pioneer shot up nearly 50% on Monday, after it announced that it had sold a portfolio of more than 800 patents to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) for $1.1 billion. Given the market's reaction, AOL investors obviously like the deal, but my fellow Fool Rich Munarriz warned that there seems to be a curse on companies accepting 10-figure deals from Mr. Softy.
Titan Machinery (Nasdaq: TITN ) , meanwhile, caught a tailwind as it blew past analysts' earnings estimates for the first quarter. And when I say "blew past," I mean blew past. For the quarter, Titan delivered $0.84 in earnings per share versus the $0.53 that Wall Street was expecting. The stock shot up to a 52-week high on the news, as one earnings beat after another has propelled the stock past its competitors.
Top 3 Performing Russell 3000 Companies
Weekly Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is April 6-April 13. Includes only companies with a market cap of $250 million or higher.
LED lighting specialist Cree saw its stock get a bump after the company said that it had cut the cost of its LED streetlights in half. Why is this such a big deal? Because, according to The Wall Street Journal, roadway lighting accounts for a cool 25% of the lighting market, but LED lighting has thus far grabbed only a measly 3% of that sub-segment. If Cree's lights are now more cost-competitive, that could mean big business for the company.
As for Travelzoo, the travel-deal maven watched its stock soar when the rumor mill kicked into gear, hinting that the company may be hiring a financial advisor to help with a sale. Possible buyers cited include deep-pocketed Google and Amazon.com, but there could be a bunch of logical bidders. While I don't chase stocks on buyout rumors -- especially after a big stock jump like this -- I'd keep an eye on this one, as the bidding could get interesting.
By week's end, Cree had tacked on nearly 7%, while Travelzoo soared 27%.
That's it for this week's top-performers recap. If you're looking for some ideas for strong outperformers for the rest of year, The Motley Fool has created a brand new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access -- it's free.