If the first few months of the year were a party, this week was a reminder that the stock market can still dole out some pain. Though headlines at the beginning of the week talked about a market "plunge," the drop for the week really wasn't all that bad. Even so, if Alcoa's estimate-topping earnings report hadn't helped pull the market back up for a couple of days, the bloodletting could have been even worse.
By the time the dust had settled on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
The week's big winners
AOL was one of the biggest winners this week across the entire market. Yes, that AOL. Shares of the one-time Internet pioneer shot up nearly 50% on Monday, after it announced that it had sold a portfolio of more than 800 patents to Microsoft
Top 3 Performing Russell 3000 Companies
Weekly Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is April 6-April 13. Includes only companies with a market cap of $250 million or higher.
Joining in on the big gains during the week were Cree
LED lighting specialist Cree saw its stock get a bump after the company said that it had cut the cost of its LED streetlights in half. Why is this such a big deal? Because, according to The Wall Street Journal, roadway lighting accounts for a cool 25% of the lighting market, but LED lighting has thus far grabbed only a measly 3% of that sub-segment. If Cree's lights are now more cost-competitive, that could mean big business for the company.
As for Travelzoo, the travel-deal maven watched its stock soar when the rumor mill kicked into gear, hinting that the company may be hiring a financial advisor to help with a sale. Possible buyers cited include deep-pocketed Google and Amazon.com, but there could be a bunch of logical bidders. While I don't chase stocks on buyout rumors -- especially after a big stock jump like this -- I'd keep an eye on this one, as the bidding could get interesting.
By week's end, Cree had tacked on nearly 7%, while Travelzoo soared 27%.
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.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Amazon.com, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, Travelzoo, and Amazon.com and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Microsoft but has no financial 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.