Resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you. Your stock may have just strapped on a rocket pack and taken off for the moon, but smart investors won't celebrate until they know that upward leap was justified. Without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks could quickly make the return trip down.

Is now the time to lock in profits, or is this just the first step toward even higher valuations down the road? Let's examine several stocks that just hit the afterburners, and see whether they're truly headed into orbit.


CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Yesterday's Change

SIGA Technologies (Nasdaq: SIGA) ** 19.12%
Clean Energy Fuels (Nasdaq: CLNE) **** 10.12%
Oilsands Quest (NYSE: BQI) **** 9.62%

The market panicked yesterday over the unrest in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East, dropping 178 points, or almost 1.5%. So stocks that managed to surge are even bigger deals.

New frontiers in investing
Despite the Small Business Administration's siding with Chimerix and ruling that smallpox antiviral maker SIGA Technologies was "other than small," a classification that should have rendered it ineligible to compete for a contract to supply the nation's treatment stockpile, the government apparently really, really likes what SIGA's offering. It rewrote the rules of eligibility and omitted the offending language, seemingly making SIGA the only company eligible to supply the stockpile. No wonder its stock was off to the races yesterday.

Not surprisingly, shares of biotech PharmAthene (NYSE: PIP) were higher yesterday, too, on a big down day for the market. It's engaged in a long-running legal battle with the antiviral maker in a he said-she said dispute over a licensing agreement that fell apart when SIGA sought to buy the biotech and then decided against it. Whatever the merits of its case against SIGA, the value of any possible settlement increases with the assurance that its legal sparring partner will win a lucrative contract.

With more than three-quarters of the CAPS members rating SIGA to outperform the broad market averages, it seems they were expecting the SBA ruling to be little more than a nuisance suit and the PharmAthene litigation to work out in its favor. So far the course of things has gone their way -- even when it hasn't!

Partisans on both sides of the licensing battle are passionate. Let us know on the SIGA Technologies CAPS page where your loyalties lie.

A clean sweep
Shares of Clean Energy Fuels may have been able to row against the tide because of several oars pulling in its favor. Maybe it was the bears capitulating that had short-sellers sending the stock higher. Or perhaps the contract it signed with UPS (NYSE: UPS) only validated the suggestion made just the other day that it will be the truck market that pushes its national network of refueling stations toward critical mass. Or it could have been that with oil shooting up 8.5% in one day (!), as the Middle East cauldron seems ready to erupt, the need for alternative fuels is greater now more than ever. Maybe it was all three coming together at the same time.

Whatever the reason, with more than 1,000 CAPS members weighing in and 96% of them seeing it beating the market, there's little question they figured it didn't matter which oar pulled strongest, Clean Energy was moving forward.

Join the crew and follow Clean Energy by adding the stock to your watchlist and having all the Foolish news and analysis gathered together for you in one place. Then head over to the Clean Energy Fuels CAPS page and let us know if it will continue to clean up in the months ahead.

The sky's the limit
It was easier to tie Oilsands Quest's rise to the Mideast turmoil. If oil is going for well over $100 a barrel, the tar sands are looking mighty attractive as well. On a day where even troubled Oilsands could jump ahead, rivals Suncor Energy (NYSE: SU), Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE: CNQ), and Cenovus Energy were all also trading higher.

Investors seem to expect a phoenix to emerge from the wrack and ruin that has been Oilsands Quest. That's apparent in the four-star rating the CAPS community has bestowed on it despite a year that's seen it lose 15% of its value -- even after its big move up yesterday. A failed sale of the company caused shares to collapse, but CAPS member tmsabato believes an appropriate cash contribution will enable it to not only survive but thrive:

As suggested their reserves are documented. With the proper infusion of cash they can be producing 30,000 barrels a day in less than 5 years. A cash cow will finally be created. I don't know why bqi still sells for .53 but I'm still loading up on shares.

Drill down into the Oilsands Quest CAPS page and let us now whether a case can be made for the tar sands developer to rise from its ashes.

Going into orbit
That's why it pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS, where you can read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from the stock's CAPS page. Then you can decide for yourself whether your stock's headed for reentry, or off to infinity and beyond.

The Fool owns shares of United Parcel Service. 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.