Is growth back? It sure seems like it. Once a dot-com bust, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) has returned to the resurgent ranks of tech growth stocks with a blowout fourth quarter.

More gains could be on the way. A survey of leading investment managers conducted by the Russell Investment Group says the growth rally will continue through the remainder of the year. And Fidelity Magellan (FMAGX) manager Harry Lange says growth isn't just good, it's cheap. "I am still convinced that this is the place to be, and if anything ... I have been adding even more to growth stocks," Lange told Reuters.

Don't dump the downtrodden
Surely Lange's optimism draws from years of success with growth stocks as manager of Fidelity Capital Appreciation (FDCAX), which thumped the market during both the go-go years of the bubble and the ugly aftermath that ensued. But there's also more to it than that. History, for one.

Growth stocks did better than value for the six years between 1994 and 2000, as technology stocks soared. Value stocks have been on a roll since. Now, as earnings growth begins to show signs of slowing, fast movers unaffected by general economic malaise could return to prominence. That's why, when Lange took the helm of the Magellan fund, he dumped Pfizer and bought Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

Funding growth
Then there's small growth go-getter Vanguard Explorer (VEXPX), which trailed the market by 6 percentage points in 2006. This year, Explorer's managers are betting on speedsters such as speakerphone maker Polycom (NASDAQ:PLCM), semiconductor equipment maker Varian (NASDAQ:VSEA), and testing equipment specialist IDEXX Laboratories (NASDAQ:IDXX) -- and their go-go style is beating the S&P 500 by almost 2 percentage points as I write. (These companies are expected by Street analysts to boost earnings by more than 15% annually over the next five years.)

Be a rebel with a cause
Here at Fool HQ, we've begun to see the turn as well. Last summer, David Gardner's Rule Breakers portfolio was bleeding red. And the quest for the next Starbucks was stuck in the mud. No longer. Today, the portfolio is once again beating the market and features 10 stocks that have at least doubled.

How did it turn around? My analysis points to three traits shared by our biggest winners:

  1. A competitive advantage in an important, emerging market.
  2. A sustainable business growing at an above-average pace.
  3. Top-flight mangers that have a clear vision for what they wish to accomplish.

As you seek the sort of multibagger returns that helped growth gurus such as Peter Lynch and Philip Fisher make millions from thousands, remember these factors. And, in the meantime, if you're looking for ideas for how to take advantage of the current growth stock rally, click here to get 30 days of free access to Rule Breakers. We'll show you everything we're buying now.

This article was originally published on Nov. 14, 2006. It has been updated.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Polycom is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Fidelity Capital Appreciation and Vanguard Explorer are Champion Funds selections. Pfizer is an Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a rebel with a cause.