Ask cheapskate value investors to buy a stock that's achieved a new 52-week high and you'll get one of two responses:

  • Hysterical laughter.
  • Sudden nausea.

Pity them, Fool.

How many times has Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) touched a new 52-week high on its way to becoming one of the market's 10 best stocks of the past decade? Too many to count, of course. Never assume that "rocket stocks" -- high-growth stocks that are also realizing heavy price appreciation -- are too expensive. What looks like a cliff could really be base camp on a climb toward the summit of Everest.

Rocket stocks, not rocket science
Each weekday in this column, we'll enlist the 80,000 pro and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS community to find stocks that are still climbing. We'll start with The Wall Street Journal's 52-week-high lists. But we'll focus our search on stocks expected to boost net income by at least 15% a year for the next five years and whose CAPS ratings sport at least two of the maximum five stars.

Here's what we've turned up today:

Company

Closing Price

CAPS Rating
(5 max)

5-Year Growth Estimate

52-Week Range

CTC Media (Nasdaq: CTCM)

$30.99

****

60.0%

$18.82-$31.21

Genoptix (Nasdaq: GXDX)

$35.76

***

52.0%

$23.40-$36.71

Healthways (Nasdaq: HWAY)

$64.50

****

25.1%

$41.58-$65.24

Express Scripts (Nasdaq: ESRX)

$77.58

*****

18.0%

$32.32-$77.96

Investment Technology Group (NYSE: ITG)

$49.45

****

17.6%

$35.36-$50.17

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool CAPS.

Our mostly small-cap list features some promising (though speculative) stocks. Yet these tiny titans can create astounding returns if you buy them before the market discovers them. Just look at benefits administrator Express Scripts, which has risen more than 125% over the past 52 weeks. The S&P 500 has barely budged over the same period.

Don't blame the media
Upstart Russian TV network CTC Media can't claim similar success -- it's up just 30% over the past year -- but unlike larger American peers such as CBS (NYSE: CBS), it's experiencing massive increases in free cash flow. Behold:

Free Cash Flow (millions)

Trailing 12 Months

2006

2005

2004

CTC Media

$135.0

$113.1

$32.9

$27.6

CBS

$1,538.9

$1,494.3

$3,210.0

$3,422.7

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

It gets better. Wall Street projects 60% growth for CTC over each of the next five years, conferring a 0.59 PEG ratio on the business. CBS, by contrast, commands a 1.5 PEG on just 7% projected growth. Either the eight analysts covering CTC are way off (which is, of course, possible), or the stock is sharply undervalued. With superior international investors such as Richard Pell and Rudolph-Riad Younes owning a significant stake in CTC, I'm more inclined to believe its shares are cheap.

But that's my take. What's yours? Would you buy CTC Media at today's prices? Let us know by signing up for CAPS now. It's 100% free to participate.

I'll be back tomorrow with more rocket stocks.

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Fool.com and Rule Breakers contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 12,809 out of more than 80,000 participants in CAPS, didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog commentary here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is saving up for a ticket to the moon.