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)

Flotek (NYSE: FTK)



American Apparel (NYSE: APP)



Orexigen Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: OREX)



One-month % change from Nov. 10 to Dec. 10.

As the markets whipsaw to changes in changes to 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 some of these companies might continue to outperform the market.

A mighty temblor
Building on the gains made by its return to profitability after two long years in the wilderness, oil industry services provider Flotek is enjoying the higher prices it was able to pass through despite pressure from the Obama administration's "permitorium" on Gulf of Mexico drilling.

While its onshore drilling efforts were much more productive with sales rising 68%, the most recent controversy over the safety of hydraulic fracturing might be a bump in the road for the company. The Interior Department is considering requiring companies to reveal more information they use about the chemicals to fracture the rock underground to release the oil and gas trapped there. Any new moratoriums would hurt not only Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and BJ Services, who are already under the gun from the Gulf drilling bans, but companies like Carbo Ceramics, which makes ceramic beads called proppants that prop open the fractures made, would see their operations collapse. Flotek, as well, derives a considerable amount of revenue from companies employing hydraulic fracturing services.

With 96% of CAPS members rating Flotek to outperform the broad market averages, they undoubtedly think the potential is small for drilling operations to be severely hampered. Let us know on the Flotek CAPS page whether you think its strong performance will be fractured by this debate.

A sunny disposition
Considering the poor performance of its operations, it's surprising to find American Apparel on a list of stocks "shaking things up." After all, the edgy retailer -- already well-known for its mercurial CEO -- reported net sales dropped more than 10% in the latest quarter, recorded a loss of $8 million compared to a profit last year (losses which may extend out to full year results), and it may end up out of compliance with its debt covenants come the end of January. Yes, by all means, let's bid up its stock!

When even perennial ne'er-do-well Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) is able to post strong gains in sales while your own comparable store sales were falling of a cliff by 16%, you have some big problems to contend with.

CAPS member mistercube believes that as troubled as the retailer is, those concerns are priced into it.

I see three possibilities: 1) APP goes to zero; 2) APP continues to tread water for years, never breaking away from its debt burden; 3) Sales come back, costs get cut, and we start to see earnings (and positive operating cash flow) again.

I'm not saying put your retirement money here, but any sort of significant management (and cost control) turnaround, coupled with an economic recovery, could put APP back on track to become the significant retailer it appeared destined to be a few years ago.

You can follow along with American Apparel's drama by adding the stock to your watchlist and having all the Foolish news and analysis gathered together for you in one place.

A speedy opportunity
Sure it gave up some of the monster gains it made after an FDA advisory panel backed its obesity drug Contrave, but Orexigen Pharmaceuticals still has a better runway for growth than either Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA) or VIVUS (Nasdaq: VVUS) after both got shot down for their respective fat-shedding compounds.

Of course, as positive as the panel's recommendation was, the FDA itself has the final say and they've been about as unpredictable as Dov Charney at American Apparel. wayneoworld agrees it's a milestone Orexigen has achieved, but only the first on the way to some fat profits.

With an FDA advisory panel recommending this new obesity drug it will be a very hot and prescribed item if actually approved by the FDA. The advisory panel has turned down the last 2 obesity drugs so this is a giant leap forward for OREX. The FDA usually follows their advisory panels. So, this stock may go up and down for a month, but I think it will go real high soon. Obesity is a major problem within the USA so I expect this new drug to fly high.

Be sure to add it into the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and head over to the Orexigen Pharmaceuticals CAPS page and beef up the comments section with your thoughts.

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.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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.