The stock market has done extremely well since 2009, and major market benchmarks have more than tripled from their weakest levels during the financial crisis. But for some individual stocks, gains have come more quickly. Emerge Energy Services (NYSE: EMES), Weibo (NASDAQ:WB), and Exelixis (NASDAQ:EXEL) have all managed to give their shareholders a triple in just the past 12 months, and investors want to know if the upward move in these shares is likely to continue. It's too much to ask for another triple from current levels, but it might not be too late for investors to latch onto these strong-performing stocks for further gains.
Emerge Energy comes back from the brink
The oil and natural gas markets have been brutally volatile recently, and Emerge Energy has borne the brunt of that volatility. The company suffered a more than 90% decline in its stock price in 2015, as the provider of sand for hydraulic-fracturing operations had to deal with plunging demand when crude oil prices began a drop that eventually took them below the $30-per-barrel mark. The master limited partnership had to suspend distributions to its shareholders, causing further problems.
Over the past year, though, the energy industry has started to look a little better, and Emerge Energy has regained some of its lost ground. The fracking-sand provider still isn't out of the woods, because even though its sales have climbed, Emerge Energy is still suffering losses. Investors are happy about the fact that the company is seeing rising demand for fracking sand, but now the demand is so heavy that the company is having trouble meeting it. In order to build on the stock's gains, Emerge Energy will have to demonstrate that it can make a strong profit during good times and work harder to take full advantage of its current opportunities.
Weibo gets social
Social media has been a hot area lately, and as the premier microblogging service for the Chinese market, Weibo has had the opportunity to capitalize on increased use of technology in the world's second-largest economy. The stock has responded extremely well to favorable news from the company, which has included extremely strong growth in revenue and earnings. Chinese users are embracing the internet, both through desktop machines and mobile devices, and Weibo has seen its customers want to connect with each other through its social media offerings. In its most recent report, Weibo said that monthly active users were up 30% to about 340 million.
Weibo is a high-growth stock, and investors have high expectations about the pace of its expansion. If Weibo can't deliver on those high demands, then the stock will suffer. However, Weibo CEO Gaofei Wang "continues to see strong momentum as we further optimize Weibo to share, discover, and consume information." That gives the Chinese microblogging specialist the potential to see further gains ahead.
Exelixis sees a winner
Finally, Exelixis has also tripled over the past year. The biopharmaceutical company has enjoyed dramatic gains in the wake of strong performance from its Cabometyx drug for kidney cancer, and Exelixis has sought to expand the indications for the use of Cabometyx while developing its pipeline of other candidate treatments.
Some fear that Exelixis' share-price gains have already priced in a lot of the potential growth that the biotech company has in the near future. Yet the company has done a good job of collaborating with partners in the pharmaceutical and biotech space to help push forward with treatment development, and many Exelixis investors are optimistic that the biotech's efforts will result either in renewed growth from its internal pipeline or in a potential buyout bid from an interested party.
Most stocks don't triple in a single year, and after such a strong move, shareholders are right to be skeptical about how much more upside a stock might have. Among these three stocks, Weibo arguably has the most room to run higher from here, especially if the potential of China's social-media industry continues to look more and more favorable over time.