Tuesday'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:

  1. Hysterical laughter.
  2. Sudden nausea.

Pity them, Fool.

How many times did Transocean (NYSE: RIG  ) touch a new 52-week high on the way becoming a six-bagger over the past five years? Too many to count, of course. Never assume that "rocket stocks" -- high-growth stocks that are also realizing heavy price appreciation -- are too expensive. What looks like a cliff could really be base camp on a climb toward the summit of Everest.

Rocket stocks, not rocket science
Each weekday in this column, we'll enlist the more than 80,000 pro and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS community 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

Natus Medical (NASDAQ:BABY)

$19.37

*****

30.0%

$13.87-$19.70

AtriCure (NASDAQ:ATRC)

$13.67

**

27.5%

$8.16-$14.04

Genzyme (NASDAQ:GENZ)

$77.41

****

18.9%

$58.71-$78.68

Waters (NYSE:WAT)

$79.71

****

15.8%

$48.64-$81.84

Incyte (NASDAQ:INCY)

$11.39

**

15.0%

$4.75-$12.72

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

Our mostly small-cap list features some promising (though speculative) stocks. Yet these tiny titans can create astounding returns if they're bought before the market discovers them. Witness microcap surgical equipment supplier AtriCure, which is up more than 44% since last January. The S&P 500 has gone nowhere over the same period.

Let the BABY feed you
Microcap Natus Medical, which helps to diagnose and treat ailments in newborns, has been nearly as impressive, up 23% since last January. But for Motley Fool Hidden Gems co-advisor Bill Mann, that may be just the beginning. Quoting from his October write-up:

Natus controls more than 80% of the newborn hearing screening market in the United States. It is also growing internationally, and the potential for continued growth is huge: While 95% of American newborns have hearing screens, that figure is less than 30% in Western Europe. In developing economies? Less than 1%. That's 115 million newborns, versus just 4 million in the United States.

Nice. No wonder management is providing bullish guidance to the Street. Natus is on track to boost per-share earnings by 41% in 2008, yet the stock trades for roughly 28 times the average analyst forecast. Doesn't seem fair, does it? Not to me.

But that's just my take. What's yours? Would you buy Natus 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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