Over the past year, we've looked at stocks that made a big splash on the scene. For some, it was just a brief moment in the spotlight, but for others, it was only a preview for even bigger and better gains to come.

Today, we've compiled nine stocks that made some of the biggest upward moves over the past year. We've paired that list with the ratings issued by our Motley Fool CAPS community and will look to see which ones might continue to make news in 2010.


1-Year % Change

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Diedrich Coffee



Select Comfort (NASDAQ:SCSS)



China Agritech



Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (NYSE:DTG)



Avis Budget Group






Dana Holding (NYSE:DAN)






Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ:HGSI)



As the markets whipsawed to changes in consumer sentiment in 2009, the stock indexes went from the very depths of the recession in March to an amazing comeback by year's end. Although broad market averages gained an impressive 23% for the full year, trough-to-peak it was an even more astounding 64% rise. So before we get shaken out again, let's look back on some of these top market performers and see if the CAPS community thinks they might continue to shake things up.

A mighty temblor
Although it was tracking the market's recovery from early March, Human Genome Sciences really turned on the afterburners when its lupus treatment Benlysta passed an important phase 3 milestone in July.

Lupus occurs when the body attacks itself, causing skin rashes, inflammation of the kidneys and tissue surrounding the heart, and pain and swelling in joints virtually anywhere in the body, making it difficult to treat. Where other attempts at treatment have wilted on the vine, Benlysta remains a patient's best hope for recovery -- and a lucrative opportunity for Human Genome Sciences.

There are about 325,000 U.S. patients with lupus, and after passing its second big trial in November, Human Genome Sciences says 200,000 of them might qualify for the new therapy. At an estimated cost of around $20,000 a year per patient, that's a potential $4 billion paycheck for the biotech. CAPS member Redhat821 enumerates five reasons why an investor would be foolish to bet against odds like that:

Not investing in HGSI is like throwing money into the trash. And shorting this stock is like stepping in front of a freight train... Ouch and bankruptcy rolled into one.

Why HGSI will be the next large cap biotech company if it's not bought out:

1. Benlysta (HGSI) for Lupus is significantly underappreciated. 5M WW suffer from Lupus. Last approved therapy was in the 1960s-steroids (nasty side effects and not very effective). Benlysta will have market exclusivity for quite sometime (nothing in the near term in pipelines for other companies). Pricing for Benlysta is estimated to be around $30K. You can do the math on the market potential.

2. Benlysta works in other autoimmune diseases-MS and RA to name a few. Any additional indication would be gravy, since you can leverage the same sales force (same doctors targeted).

You can read the rest of Redhat821's reasoning by clicking here.

Feeling the aftershocks
Investors in Netlist had their heads in a cloud for a while, too, following the virtualization upstart's announcement that it was ready to challenge the industry leaders with its HyperCloud memory module. The module essentially fools a server into thinking it has more main memory than it is supposed to.

That's not anything new in virtualization, but the big difference is Netlist's virtualization takes place inside the memory module rather than on the motherboard. That gives it the potential to halve the number of servers needed for cloud-computing services and could result in a huge cost savings to companies.

It all sounded good until high-speed analog chipmaker Inphi said Netlist infringed on its patents. When it comes to technological innovation, patent turf warfare is to be expected, and Netlist says the suit is just retaliation for its own lawsuit against its rival. But the memory module maker is also engaged in patent litigation with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and one wonders whether it can ultimately prevail before legal costs swamp it.

CAPS All-Star Tastylunch doesn't hold out much hope for Netlist, characterizing it as something akin to a patent troll:

I'm not a fan of patent Trolls. Can't imagine in NLST vs GOOG court will favor NLST

While underdogs many times do prevail in court, you could keep your feet on the ground with a well-reasoned explanation on the Netlist CAPS page as to why the HyperCloud module ought to make investors hyperventilate.

Shake, rattle, and roll
It pays to start your own research on these stocks at Motley Fool CAPS. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made -- all from a stock's CAPS page.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article mentioned Gulf Resources. The data used for its inclusion was incorrect. We regret the error.