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)

Magic Software (Nasdaq: MGIC)



Exelixis (Nasdaq: EXEL)


**** (Nasdaq: LOCM)



1 month % change from Nov. 17 to Dec. 17.

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
Looking at just the 90% gains relatively unknown business software provider Magic Software achieved in just the past month is certainly impressive, but that's just part of a much broader climb it has made since the beginning of November when it was trading for less than $3 a stub. In short, when you look at the past year Magic's shares have nearly quadrupled in value (as of this writing, however, Magic's shares are falling 10% today).

Building on its position as an IBM (NYSE: IBM) software partner, Magic's uniPaaS and iBOLT platforms allows businesses to rapidly customize and integrate applications into existing systems. Revenue soared 66% last quarter and was up 24% sequentially, and operating profit tripled.

With 87% of CAPS members rating Magic to outperform the broad market averages, they undoubtedly think it can pull additional growth out of a hat. Tell us on the Magic Software CAPS page why this performance is not just smoke and mirrors.

A sunny disposition
Some stocks can have a breakout performance one month and then go back to their money-losing ways. Contrast that with biotech Exelixis, which busted higher in mid-November on news of positive mid-stage trials on its ovarian and prostate cancer therapy. But that was only the launching pad for its next surge up, as rumors of a possible buyout from some Big Pharma player took it to the next level.

That would be a nice change of fortune for the biotech, which admittedly has been losing money and burning cash. Partnerships with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) turned into big disappointments, and while recent insider buying has instilled a level of confidence in investors, there is a lot of risk here. As positive as the drug development news is, it's still only in mid-stage trials, and there are plenty of potholes it could run into yet.

Highly rated CAPS All-Star member zzlangerhans recently weighed in with the view the market cap the market is assigning Exelixis may be hard to maintain for the long term.

The cap is back to 900M and shareholder equity is -200M, meaning that the market is valuing the pipeline over a billion dollars. Exelixis has had a lot of trouble maintaining this level of enthusiasm before and it won't take much to let some air out of this balloon. There are more trials in progress than I'm aware of, but this is a cap that will have to be supported by ongoing positive data and that's a hard trick to pull off.

You can follow along with Exelixis's cancer treatment promise 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
With local search provider, the gains it's made in recent weeks unfortunately has less to do with its own operations than with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) tossing $6 billion at Groupon. When someone's willing to pay that kind of cash for local search, every provider including, is going to look pretty darn attractive. There's often a lemming-like quality to M&A announcements as others with cash burning a hole in their pocket look for some to throw money at.

Of course, that raises the question, why not Well, it did miss analyst expectations on third-quarter sales and profit, and projections for fourth-quarter revenue and earnings were light too. With a market cap of around $100 million, wouldn't cost the anything near the $6 billion offer that Google made for Groupon. There's plenty of competition out there and bidding up shares based on hope is hardly a worthwhile strategy to pursue.

Yet 94% of the CAPS members rating think it has significant value locked within, so be sure to add it into the Fool's free portfolio tracker. The head over to the CAPS page and search the comments of your fellow Fools for greater insight.

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.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.