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

TravelCenters of America (NYSE: TA)



Clinical Data (Nasdaq: CLDA)



Plug Power (Nasdaq: PLUG)



From Nov. 17 to Dec. 17.

The Dow is fast closing in on 12,000, a level it hasn't seen since early 2008. 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
It might have been a self-serving move by Hospitality Properties Trust, but by lowering the rent and renegotiating its leases with TravelCenters of America, both companies benefit. The recession and high oil prices had taken a toll on the gas station and roadside restaurant operator, and the new terms gave it a new lease on life.

TravelCenters is a tenant of Hospitality, an owner of hotel and travel-center properties. Even though its third-quarter results showed gas prices higher than the year-ago period, those prices were less volatile, improving TravelCenters' gross margin per gallon of fuel. Coupled with its renegotiated leases, the company now occupies a more financially stable position. Its primary competitor, privately held Pilot, recently acquired the properties of bankrupt Flying J, which TravelCenters admits could put it at a competitive disadvantage.

Pilot-Flying J is also expanding into alternative fuels, hosting natural-gas refueling stations from Clean Energy Fuels (Nasdaq: CLNE). It's also partnering with Denny's (Nasdaq: DENN) to open up restaurants at its truck stops. Now that TravelCenters has its immediate future stabilized, it can look a little bit further into the future to counter these competitive expansions.

After the truck-stop operator reported its quarterly results last November, CAPS member cautiouswillie voiced optimism:

No long term debt, swung from loss to profit. Play on economic recovery: This company depends on trucking volume. As the economy picks up, so will profits. If the economy takes longer, so will TA

Let us know on the TravelCenters of America CAPS page whether this stock is worth stopping in for.

Happy days
Drug developer Clinical Data has scored a huge victory. The Food and Drug Administration declared its major depressive disorder treatment Viibryd good to go, after the drug passed two phase 3 trials without incident. That monumental achievement could eventually elevate Viibryd to the same class of antidepressants as Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) Zoloft and Forest Labs' Lexapro.

The key word there? Eventually. Clinical Data still has to get it on the market, which the company aims to do by the second quarter. The U.S. market for antidepressants was approximately $12 billion in 2009, with more than 212 million prescriptions written, so there's a lot of potential upside.

While there's some skepticism about what Viibryd brings to the table, enough people think there's sufficient differentiation here to make Clinical Data a buyout target. Right now, Pfizer says it's more interested in buying back its stock. But depending on the outcome of the additional trials that Clinical Data will run to test Viibryd against its rivals, that could change in a hurry.

CAPS member nastrade49 is counting on it: "company is looking to be bought by larger pharma company. Larger company will be able to further develop depression drug."

If Clinical Data's big run-up has got you down, add the stock to your watchlist, and have all our Foolish news and analysis on the company aggregated for you.

Plug it in
Plug Power was a market darling when fuel-cell technology was all the rage, but it's fallen on hard times in recent years. Yet hard times don't mean that the company's stopped trying to develop its expertise. A recent deal with Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) has given the stock a jolt of new life.

Plug Power delivered 37 lift-truck fuel cells to the beverage maker in December, and will plug in an additional 37 units last month under its new agreement.

Fuel cells are one of a number of clean-energy technologies in the market vying for supremacy. CAPS member bhollie100904 thinks Plug Power remains in the running, however slowly its technology is being embraced.

Be sure to add the fuel cell maker into the Fool's free portfolio tracker, then head over to the Plug Power CAPS page and share your thoughts on how it will move forward.

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.

Coca-Cola and Pfizer are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. 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. 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.