On the bright side, it now seems almost assured that Greece will receive its next round of bailout funding and avoid a near-term, disorderly default. That's not to say that investors are settled about that heavily indebted country or the struggling eurozone as a whole, but it appears to at least be a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, in the United States, economic signals continue to be mixed, as January durable-goods orders posted a surprisingly large drop, while consumer confidence is showing some relative strength.
Throw that all together, and we ended up with a week where the S&P 500 index was up yet again but other indexes were stuck in neutral. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
Top 3 Performing Sectors
Russell 3000 Sector
Weekly Price Change
Month-to-Date Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is Feb. 24-March 2. Monthly price change is Feb. 29-March 3.
Independent oil and gas company ATP Oil & Gas
For business-process software company Pegasystems, it was a positive earnings report that sent the stock soaring. Interestingly, the company's past-quarter results seemed to trump its outlook, as the former looked great while the latter was a bit soft. For the fourth quarter, Pegasystems earned $0.16 per share on $115 million in revenue, well above the $105 million in revenue and $0.05 in per-share profit that Wall Street was looking for. However, as the company looked ahead to 2012, its revenue outlook topped previous Wall Street estimates, but its profit guidance came up short. Nevertheless, the stock finished the week with a whopping 23% advance.
Top 3 Performing Russell 3000 Companies
Weekly Price Change
|ATP Oil & Gas||20.9%|
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is Feb. 24-March 2. Includes only companies with a market cap of $250 million or higher.
Joining in on the big gains during the week were Cheniere Energy
For Fusion-io, the share-price tailwind came from a positive note from investment bank Credit Suisse, where analyst Kulbinder Garcha reinstated the bank's coverage of Fusion-io, slapping on a $50 price target and trouncing the rest of Wall Street's expectations for the company by estimating $527 million in revenue for 2013. Fusion-io's shares finished the week with a 14% gain.
That's it for this week's top-performers recap. If you're looking for some ideas for strong outperformers for the rest of year, The Motley Fool has created a brand new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access -- it's free.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Blackstone but has nofinancial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter, @KoppTheFool, or on Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.