Thursday'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 has Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) touched a new 52-week high on the way to becoming a three-bagger over the past five years? Too many to count, of course. Never assume that "rocket stocks" -- high-growth stocks that are realizing heavy price appreciation -- are too expensive. What looks like a cliff could really be base camp on a climb to the summit of Everest.

Rocket stocks, not rocket science
Each weekday in this column, we enlist the 80,000 pro and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS community to find stocks that are still climbing. We start with The Wall Street Journal's 52-week high lists. We focus our search on stocks expected to boost net income by at least 15% a year for the next five years, and with CAPS ratings of 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

Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN  )

$70.02

***

28.5%

$28.11-$75.20

Sun Healthcare (Nasdaq: SUNH  )

$18.54

****

24.0%

$11.74-$18.78

Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD  )

$29.50

****

22.5%

$7.40-$30.04

ICICI Bank (NYSE: IBN  )

$72.88

*****

20.3%

$35.50-$73.39

W&T Offshore (NYSE: WTI  )

$33.33

*****

15.0%

$20.53-$33.83

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 Sun Healthcare. The medical facilities operator is up 43% since last January. The S&P 500 has declined over the same period.

Lend a little help to your portfolio
Sometimes it's the behemoths that outperform. Take ICICI Bank, one of the largest lenders in India and a competitor to Global Gains pick HDFC Bank (NYSE: HDB  ) . Shares of ICICI are up 70% over the past year.

Could this stock still be a value? That's much harder to tell. But investors appear to be enthusiastic over a plan that could result in four units of the bank being spun-off into separate, value-creating entities.

Furthermore, research suggests that as much as 41% of India's population doesn't yet have access to banking services, which speaks to a still-massive growth opportunity. Or, as CAPS investor inflectionpoint put in November:

This stock is expensive. I decided, however, to buy it because I believe it will continue to benefit from India's explosive growth, especially in sectors such as real estate and insurance. In my view, the largest bank in an economy that big should exceed the $100 billion mark at some point.

Interesting, but that's just one Fool's take. What would you do? Would you buy ICICI Bank at today's prices? Let us know by signing up for CAPS now. It's 100% free to participate.

I'll be back with more rocket stocks next week.


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