Had our recent series been titled "The Best Stock for the Next Two Weeks," I would have some serious bragging rights today.

Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY) shares have exploded higher since my new year's recommendation, besting even the significant appreciation of peers IAMGOLD (NYSE: IAG), Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM), and Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC). Although yesterday's announcement of preliminary results for the fourth quarter -- not to mention forward guidance for the next two years -- wasn't decisive in the share price move, it sure didn't hurt.

We won't be hearing the final numbers until late March, so it was nice to get a sneak peek at the December results, even though they were limited to rough production figures. The numbers were actually light. For example, less copper/gold concentrate was produced at Chapada, resulting in fewer gold ounces from the young Brazilian mine, which is still working out kinks on the way to full capacity.

The outlook put forth by Yamana was solid, but I didn't see anything that increased the shares' appeal. The company bumped up production guidance for both 2008 and 2009, but cash costs were forecast higher than I expected. That said, projections use a $700 per ounce gold price, and actual costs should come in lower.

For better or worse, Yamana is one of the lower-cost gold producers. It's perverse, but in a rising gold price environment like today's, folks sitting on uneconomic assets experience a greater boost in valuations when they find their marginal mines or deposits profitable.

On the chance that gold continues its run toward $1,000 an ounce, Yamana has little upside, according to the analysts at RBC Capital Markets. But let's not get greedy -- Yamana has outperformed the streetTRACKS Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) exchange-traded fund of late, and I believe it will continue to as the company continues its internal growth plan.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned, but he has an outperform rating on Yamana in Motley Fool CAPS, where he's rated 167 out of more than 81,000 players. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.