Tuesday's Top 5 Growth Winners

Ask cheapskate value investors to buy a stock that's achieved a new 52-week high, and they'll likely respond with hysterical laughter -- or sudden nausea. But didn't TBS International (Nasdaq: TBSI  ) touch a new 52-week high countless times on its way to becoming a four-bagger this year? It just goes to show that high-growth stocks enjoying heavy price appreciation, also known as "rocket stocks," are sometimes worth buying. Never assume an expensive stock is too expensive.

Rocket stocks, not rocket science
Each weekday, we'll enlist the more than 78,000 members of Motley Fool CAPS to find stocks that are still climbing. We'll start with The Wall Street Journal's 52-week high lists. But we'll focus our search on stocks expected to boost net income by at least 15% a year for the next five years, and whose CAPS ratings sport at least two of the maximum five stars. Here's what we've turned up today:

Company

Closing Price

CAPS Rating
(5 max)

5-Year Growth Estimate

52-Week Range

VISICU (NASDAQ:EICU)

$11.77

***

25.0%

$6.57-$11.77

NIC (NASDAQ:EGOV)

$8.31

*****

21.3%

$4.75-$8.34

TheStreet.com (NASDAQ:TSCM)

$14.62

***

20.0%

$8.20-$15.00

Aspreva Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ASPV)

$25.82

*****

20.0%

$15.73-$25.86

Petroleum Development (NASDAQ:PETD)

$60.01

*****

15.0%

$35.73-$60.69

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Motley Fool CAPS.

Our mostly small-cap list features some promising, if speculative, stocks. Yet these tiny titans can create astounding returns if they're bought before they get discovered. Witness NIC, which helps bring government services to the Web. Its shares are up 73% over the past year, easily besting the S&P 500's 2% return over the same period.

A portfolio boost, stat!
NIC, which carries a hefty 2.35 PEG ratio, seems too expensive to own today. Not so for health-care specialist VISICU. Granted, its 1.81 PEG isn't cheap either, but the disruptive nature of its business intrigues me.

VISICU has created a remote monitoring system for intensive-care patients. The result? Higher productivity for ICU specialists, who number only 6,000 in the entire United States. Increased productivity for these overworked docs, researchers say, should result in fewer deaths. According to VISICU, as many as 50,000 lives a year could be saved.

But the stock isn't without risk. Its recently granted patent faces a legal challenge from Cerner (Nasdaq: CERN  ) , and years could pass until the case is resolved. Fortunately, management has a lot to gain from a patent victory, and from increased adoption of its technology; insiders still own 12% of the business.

What's more, VISICU has a history of strong cash flows and a pristine balance sheet. If a prolonged legal fight really is in the offing, the firm has enough resources to make life difficult for its foes. VISICU joins my CAPS watch list today.

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

I'll be back tomorrow with more rocket stocks.


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