Stop rubbing your eyes. Do not adjust your set. Growth-stock investing is back.

Really.

It's natural for you to be skeptical. Growth stocks tend to be high-beta pills that fall sharply when the market tanks, and we're not exactly in a roaring bull market right now. Then again, the past few months have been kind to those willing to pay market premiums for companies growing their prospects quickly.

Yes, I'm bringing evidence along to help argue my case.

Exhibit A: The growth stock bellwethers are winning
I'm not happy when any investing philosophy falters, though I have to point out that the biggest industry debacles over the past year have been in the value investing stomping grounds: financials and real estate. You don't see tech stocks panhandling before the Federal Reserve or announcing billions in asset writedowns.

More importantly, growth stocks have been providing upside surprises instead of quarterly report shockers.

Date

EPS Est.

EPS Actual

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)

4/23/08

$1.07

$1.16

Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG)

4/17/08

$0.98

$1.12

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

4/17/08

$4.52

$4.84

Source: Thomson First Call.

In other words, the disparity between growth and value is widening, with growth stocks living up to their hyped-up expectations, and beyond.  

Exhibit B: Check the Rule Breakers scorecard
The Motley Fool Rule Breakers research service is an aggressive growth-based newsletter. It swings for the fences. That typically translates into winning results by overcoming a low batting average with a monster slugging percentage. A big winner -- like Intuitive Surgical, which is up 553% since David Gardner first recommended it three years ago -- can handily offset several stinkers.

So you can only imagine the refreshing surprise that awaited me when I checked up on the scorecard this morning, only to find a lot more green than red on top. Five of the six most recent recommendations have posted double-digit gains since being singled out. We're talking gains of 10% to 49% on all but one of the six recommendations over the past three months. The lone exception isn't even much of a stinker, since it's down by 3%.

Naturally, there are no guarantees that the two new picks that will go out later this month will keep the trend going, but you have to be stoked when both the batting average and the slugging percentage are swinging in your favor.   

Exhibit C: Higher ground through higher guidance
No one will argue that a sputtering economy is a good thing, but there always seem to be a handful of companies that buck the contagious malaise. Instead of hosing down their guidance, several companies have been upgrading their outlooks this year.

Marvel (NYSE: MVL) did just that on Monday. Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO) did just that in March. Bidz.com (Nasdaq: BIDZ) did just that last night. Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) has raised its subscriber targets twice.

Value investing used to be the home for steady opportunities. Growth investing used to be a minefield magnet. The roles may not be reversing completely, but the implosions appear to be coming out of the value camp these days. Growth stocks certainly appear to be the ones coming through with the good news.

I'm a fan of both investing philosophies, but I find myself leaning on growth more often these days. Going by the exhibits presented, I'd say it's a pretty good place to be.

I rest my case.

For more Foolishness:

Intuitive Surgical and Take-Two Interactive are recommendations for Motley Fool Rule Breakers subscribers. Apple, Marvel, and Netflix are Stock Advisor picks. You can see what all the fuss is about with a free, 30-day trial subscription to either service.  

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of growth stocks, though he prefers to buy in at the right price. He does own shares in Netflix. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.