Monday's Top 5 Rocket Stocks

Ask cheapskate value investors to buy a stock that's achieved a new 52-week high, and you'll get one of two responses:

  1. Hysterical laughter.
  2. Sudden nausea.

Feel sorry for them, Fool.

How many times has  Apple touched a 52-week high on its way to yesterday's close of $153.76? Too many to count, of course. Those who panicked at the thought of buying at the top have missed out on a 20-bagger since 2002.

Let that be a lesson. Rocket stocks -- that is, high-growth stocks that are also realizing heavy price appreciation -- are sometimes worth buying.

Rocket stocks, not rocket science
And sometimes they're worth buying in bulk. Think of Baidu.com (Nasdaq: BIDU  ) . My buddy Rick Munarriz recommended China's top search engine to our Motley Fool Rule Breakers subscribers at $83.37 in October of last year.

I thought he was nuts. I mean it. The stock was both expensive and on a tear, so I argued against buying it in a January duel here at Fool.com. Now Baidu is nearing a four-bagger. How I wish I had listened to what Rick was telling me those months ago!

Don't do as I did. Never assume that an expensive stock is too expensive. What looks like a cliff could really be base camp on a climb toward the summit of Everest. Each day in this column, with the help of the 74,000 pro and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS community, we'll seek those stocks that are still climbing.

Our candidates will be found daily in the 52-week high lists at The Wall Street Journal. But few highfliers will make the cut; we're looking for stocks expected to boost net income by at least 15% annually over the next five years, and which earn at least three out of five stars from our CAPS contingent.

Here are today's top five, for your consideration:

Company

Closing Price

CAPS Rating
(5 max)

5-Year Growth Est.

Previous 52-Week
Range

AuthenTec (NASDAQ:AUTH)

$16.89

****

30.0%

Not avail.

EMS Technologies (NASDAQ:ELMG)

$30.50

*****

26.0%

$18.00-$31.32

GeoEye (NASDAQ:GEOY)

$32.02

*****

20.0%

$15.89-$33.74

Hellenic Telecom (NYSE:OTE)

$18.82

*****

16.1%

$12.49-$19.46

Calavo Growers (NASDAQ:CVGW)

$24.04

*****

15.0%

$9.55-$24.93

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool CAPS.

Our mostly small-cap list features many promising-but-speculative stocks. Yet these tiny titans can create astounding returns if they're bought before they're discovered. Witness the dramatic rise of avocado picker Calavo Growers, which has more than doubled over the past year.

Or how about Hellenic Telecom, which was an undiscovered growth stock in March? Shares of the Greek phone company are up 33% since, easily besting the S&P 500's 2.6% gain over the same period.

Up and down ... up and down
But AuthenTec interests me most today. This maker of biometric technology has become far more than the speculative play CAPS All-Star pennysplants saw when she pitched the stock in June, writing:

Oh, what the heck! I need some excitement in my life. This will be boom or bust. And, should be entertaining along the way as it goes up and down ... up and down.

Amused? You're not the only one. Her playfulness captured the imagination of one of our noblest Fools, TheDukeofWallSt. Experience his thespian brilliance here.

As amusing as these pitches are, AuthenTec's patented innovations are no joke. Nor are its financial results. Like peer L-1 Identity Solutions (NYSE: ID  ) , AuthenTec produced a profit in its recently completed third quarter, thanks to astounding revenue growth. Cash flow also improved rapidly, according to the quarterly report filed with the SEC.

With institutional ownership still less than 10%, I'd say this stock has plenty of room to run, and I think it's seriously worth considering.

Intrigued? Do your own due diligence, then check in with thousands of other investors at CAPS. If you'd like, add your own commentary. You'll be helping your fellow Fools and testing your ideas at the same time. Click here to get started now; the service is 100% free.

See you back here tomorrow for more rocket stocks.


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