Monday's Top 5 Growth Winners

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

  • Hysterical laughter.
  • Sudden nausea.

Pity them, Fool.

How many times did robot doc Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG  ) touch a new 52-week high on the way to becoming a nine-bagger in less than three years? Too many to count, of course.

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. My buddy, fellow Fool Rick Munarriz, recommended China's top search engine to our Rule Breakers subscribers at $83.37 in October 2006. 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 a four-bagger. How I wish I had listened to Rick.

Don't you do as I did. Never assume an expensive stock is too expensive. What looks like a cliff could really be base camp on a climb to the summit of Everest. Each day in this column, with the help of the 76,000 pro and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS community, we'll seek to find those 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 that earn at least two of five stars from our CAPS contingent.

Here are today's candidates for your consideration:

Company

Closing Price

CAPS Rating
(5 max)

5-Year
Growth Estimate

52-Week
Range

Atwood Oceanics
(NYSE:ATW)

$89.86

*****

67.0%

$43.77-$90.53

Stanley (NYSE:SXE)

$37.25

****

27.7%

$13.41-$37.78

Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI)

$24.97

*****

23.3%

$16.05-$26.72

Advisory Board
(NASDAQ:ABCO)

$65.32

**

17.0%

$46.70-$66.56

Lindsay (NYSE:LNN)

$55.27

*****

15.0%

$28.55-$57.57

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

Our list of mostly small caps features some promising but speculative stocks. Yet these tiny titans can create astounding returns if bought before they are discovered.

Witness video game guru Activision, which recently agreed to combine forces with Vivendi to create Activision Blizzard. The combined entity will control rock star gaming franchises Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft.

But investors had been buying this Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick long before a deal was announced. Shares of Activision are up roughly 46% over the past year, easily besting the S&P 500's 5% return over the same period.

Searching for the next gusher
I expect Activision to keep delivering excellent returns. Yet I'm even more intrigued by another Stock Advisor pick: Atwood Oceanics, a deep-water driller that's been in business for 40 years.

The thesis is simple, explains Fool co-founder David Gardner in the September issue. Quoting:

Trading at 17 times estimated 2007 earnings, the company may not look as cheap as some of its peers, but analysts have Atwood pegged to grow at a whopping 70% annual rate during the next five years. That makes for a PEG (price/earnings/growth) ratio of just 0.25. And while these estimates aren't something I'd bet the farm on, they indicate strong growth potential.

Atwood is up more than 34% since that call. Yet the basic thesis hasn't much changed. Atwood's PEG sits at 0.30 while peers Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO  ) and Transocean come in at 0.78 and 0.79, respectively.

But that's just one take. What's yours? Would you buy Atwood at today's prices? Let us know by signing up for CAPS now. It's 100% free to participate.

I'll be here again tomorrow for more rocket stocks.


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