In late July, The Motley Fool started the "11 O'Clock Stock" series, challenging our analysts to pick 50 stocks across 50 days. In the relatively short time we've been watching this group of stocks, many have already seen impressive gains, while others have suffered setbacks.

In this column, we'll drill into a couple of outperforming stocks, and one that's been lagging. Then we'll check in with recent news on several other companies in the portfolio.

Two stocks soaring
The portfolio's top performer thus far has been Coach (NYSE: COH). Since Fool writer Dayana Yochim picked it in mid-August, Coach has posted 46% returns versus a comparable S&P gain of just 11%! What's driving Coach's monster returns? Well, last quarter didn't hurt. The luxury accessory maker blew out estimates, sending earnings per share swelling 43% over last year's total. Store comps were impressive as well, and while U.S. comps rose 8.5%, China comps soared at an even more impressive double-digit rate. While Coach may look more expensive than some of its retailing peers, the company's resilience and continuing operational excellence show that its premium is well-deserved.

Altria (NYSE: MO) has also outperformed since we first recommended it. While the tobacco titan is hardly the kind of stock you expect to deliver outsized returns, it's been on a nice run since the summer. Part of this could be attributed to investors chasing dividends. Altria pays out a tasty 6.2% yield, while giving investors a reliable business. However, Altria and second-cousin (and fellow 11 O'Clock Stock recommendation) Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) have also shown tremendous success in recent quarters in cutting costs to get more out of their cash-cow businesses.

One stock sinking
Since its recommendation, Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL) has been one of the early portfolio laggards. While the retailer is beloved for its laser-like focus on hardwood, which allows it to undercut larger competitors, the company has undergone some IT-related headaches recently. It blamed last quarter's dismal earnings on the problematic implementation of a new SAP system. Guidance for the current quarter bounced back to reasonable levels, but investors should continue closely watching the company. If the current quarter comes in similarly weak, computer woes might be the least of Lumber Liquidators' problems.

Three stocks in focus

  • Marvell Technology (Nasdaq: MRVL) released earnings last night, and its trend toward growing wireless networking and smartphone sales only continues to strengthen. While the company saw its share price shrink after hours on tepid guidance, the stock is up sharply today. The company's 3% sequential gain in hard drive disk controllers, which contribute 40% of revenue, was a healthy performance from a unit that held the company back last quarter. Marvell's reliance on the hard disk drive market for a large percentage of sales will continue to anchor the company's valuation behind some of its larger peers, but with booming sales in new markets and hard drive sales rebounding, the overall thesis from Marvell's buy recommendation remains strong.
  • Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) hosted its analyst day in New York this week. The company continues to see a strong rebound in the number of mobile phones sold and the selling prices associated with them. Qualcomm collects a percentage from every data-capable phone sold, so both of these trends benefit the company. Also of note was its plan to spend nearly $1 billion building out manufacturing for its Mirasol display technology. While Mirasol has the potential to be a game-changer, Qualcomm has been known to destroy shareholder value on these kinds of side projects.
  • One company watching General Ben's march on interest rates (the fabled QE2) is Annaly Capital (NYSE: NLY). Annaly's costs are essentially short-term interest, since it borrows at short-term rates to buy longer-term bonds. The spread between these rates powers Annaly's robust 15.2% dividend. QE2 attempts to lower long-term rates, potentially decreasing Annaly's interest revenue. That's not enough to change our thesis on the company, as evidenced by Ilan Moscovitz's updated buy recommendation in our new Rising Stars series. Since Annaly has bought a large amount of fixed long-term mortgage-backed securities, falling long-term rates will increase the value of its existing portfolio. Finally, as Ilan describes in his updated write-up, QE2 is overblown anyway.

If you're interested in seeing more selections from our "11 O'Clock Stock" series, we've put together a special report highlighting five of our top ideas from the series -- with two extra bonus picks for free. You can get access to the report by clicking here now.

Lumber Liquidators is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Coach is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. Philip Morris International is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Altria, Annaly Capital Management, Coach, Lumber Liquidators, Marvell Technology Group, Philip Morris International, and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above, though he laments not buying into Marvell or Qualcomm earlier. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.