Some stocks are one-hit wonders, making a big splash when they first appear, then quickly fizzling into obscurity or oblivion. But for other stocks, that initial big move is only a preview for even bigger and better gains to come.

Today, we've listed three stocks that made some of the biggest upward moves over the past month, which we'll pair with the ratings issued by our Motley Fool CAPS community. The higher each stock's rating, the greater CAPS members' faith in that company's ability to keep on beating the market.


1 Month % Change

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

AirTran Holdings (NYSE: AAI)






RAIT Financial Trust (NYSE: RAS)



One month % change from Aug. 20 to Sept. 21.

As the markets whipsaw to changes in second-half economic performance, the S&P 500 has been volatile. So before we get shaken out again, let's see why the CAPS community thinks these companies might continue to outperform the market.

A mighty temblor
With the airline industry in the midst of a consolidation wave, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) figured it need to acquire someone just to stay competitive. AirTran Holdings was an attractive target because its Atlanta hub, home to some major companies like Home Depot and Coca-Cola, makes it one of the busiest markets in the world.

With Continental Airlines merging with United and Delta Air Lines hooking up with Northwest, Southwest needed access to passengers where it didn't have a presence. The $1.4 billion deal, which values AirTran at $7.69 per share (a 69% premium to what the stock closed at before the announcement) is likely going to put pressure on American's parent, AMR, and US Airways (NYSE: LCC) to find someone to buy now.

No doubt Southwest saw in AirTran Holdings the same indicators of excellence that CAPS member browntn did back in July, and valued it accordingly: "PE is unusually low, strong balance sheet, and very liquid. In fact, one of the few airline companies that is consistently making a profit and appears it will continue to do so. Near price projection is set at $8."

A sunny disposition
Acquisitions are going to be part and parcel of LDK Solar's plans as well, which bounded higher after the solar shop secured a $9 billion line of credit from the Chinese government's development bank to help it increase size, share, or pricing power.

The government has also extended terms to JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO), Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL), and Suntech Power as it seeks a land grab in the clean energy space. It's funding a number of wind power companies, too, but the LDK loan is the largest loan to date and certainly gives Chinese alt-energy companies a leg up on foreign rivals.

Highly rated CAPS All-Star nonzerosum predicted earlier this month that LDK would find the wherewithal to continue growing at the rate it has been.

LDK is growing like gangbusters. It does have short term liquidity issues (current ratio = 52%) but with decent 18% margins and growth rate they will get money. Some risk of dilution for capex, but that's the trade-off when you're growing at these rates.

Add the solar PV specialist to your My Watchlist page and have all the Foolish news and analysis aggregated for you in one place.

A speedy opportunity
There was no specific news that would account for RAIT Financial Trust's surge yesterday, so maybe it was short-sellers covering. About 7% of the real estate investment trust's shares are sold short and its short interest ratio -- or the numbers of days it would take for all of the shorts to cover their positions -- is less than four, not inordinately large (Cell Therapeutics, for example, stands at 37 and JetBlue Airways is 11). Still, upward movements in price can sometimes get short-sellers off the dime and out of a stock before they get squeezed.

Yet unless there's something to back it up, a squeeze is just a short-lived phenomenon, which is why CAPS member backinthegame figures there's a real possibility RAIT will run further: "Beaten down the past 3 weeks. Started making a profit again... book value $9+. Putting real money in this one."

Add your opinion of whether this REIT is right on the RAIT Financial Trust CAPS page.

Shake, rattle, and roll
With these stocks shaking the market this past month it pays to start your own research on them 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.

Home Depot and Coca-Cola are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Suntech Power Holdings is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Southwest Airlines is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Coca-Cola is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola. 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 does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. You can shake, rattle, and roll The Motley Fool's disclosure policy, but it still won't break.