Resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you. Your stock may have just strapped on a rocket pack and taken off for the moon, but smart investors won't celebrate until they know that upward leap was justified. Without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks can quickly make the return trip down.

Is now the time to lock in profits, or is this just the first step toward even higher valuations down the road? Let's examine several stocks that just hit the afterburners, and see whether they're truly headed into orbit.


CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Friday's Change

MIPS Technologies (Nasdaq: MIPS)



Tibco Software (Nasdaq: TIBX)






On a day when the market was up big at 198 points, or almost 2%, even a high-flying blue chip can look like a volatile penny stock.

Yet blue-chip Oracle nonetheless drove MIPS Technologies and ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH) higher (ARM was up 7.5%) as speculators wondered which company it would buy. CEO Larry Ellison said he wanted to purchase chip companies with powerful intellectual portfolios. Earlier this month, MIPS got singled out as the industry-leading chip maker for digital media, and a major rival for Sigma Designs (Nasdaq: SIGM).

You can find MIPS chip architecture in TV sets, set-top boxes, GPS units, and digital cameras. The mobile computing market looks like it will give MIPS a chance to dial into the cell phone market, too. That probably helps to explain why 89% of CAPS members rating MIPS already figure it will go on to outperform the broad-market averages.

The devil's in the details
Earlier this month, I highlighted CAMAC Energy as a relatively unknown company that could offer investors robust returns from its oil explorations in the west coast of Africa and China. Just last week, CAMAC announced the appointment of a new CEO, an individual with deep experience at both CNOOC and National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV). That certainly situates the company to navigate the tricky waters of U.S.-China relations.

CAPS member BobMcIntyre1 thinks China's demand for oil will ultimately drive CAMAC higher still:

This is China oil and with their thinking to build the economy they will need more oil within the country.

Sunny days are here again
You've got to hand it to Motley Fool tech guru Anders Bylund. Last December, he called Tibco Software the best tech stock for 2010. It's risen 113% since. Interestingly, Anders thinks Tibco isn't done running higher.

He's in good company with that prediction. Tibco's CEO says the company is undervalued when compared to other enterprise-software providers. At just 23 times next year's earnings, it's trading for less than a third of (NYSE: CRM), which demands more than 78 times 2011's profits. Tibco has been the subject of takeover talk before (SAP was one of those potential acquirers), and with the company performing so well across all of its platforms, it's not surprising that some might think it would once again make a good target.

Indeed, Anders, who goes by the name TMFZahrim on CAPS, speculated earlier this summer that Tibco could be an amazing business -- if it didn't get bought out first!

Tibco is profitable and cash-flow positive, positioned on the bleeding edge of a product category that every serious business needs to use. If one of the big boys doesn't buy the entire company before it gets too expensive, I see several years of stand-alone business growth ahead for Tibco.

Does this tech firm now have a target taped to its back? Shine some light on the Tibco Software CAPS page. If you want to stay up-to-date on what's happening with this top tech titan, add it to your My Watchlist page, where we'll aggregate all the Foolish news and analysis about this stock for you.

Going into orbit
Just because your stock has taken to the stratosphere doesn't mean it won't lose altitude. Markets are known for overreacting. A closer look at what's happened to your stock can give you an edge over other investors who merely follow the market's lead.

That's why it pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS, where you can read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from the stock's CAPS page. Then you can decide for yourself whether your stock's headed for reentry, or off to infinity and beyond. and Sigma Designs are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. National Oilwell Varco is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. CNOOC is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. The Fool owns shares of Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey currently does not own any stocks, as you can see here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.