There's a school of thinking that sees more promise in superior gains than in digging up great starting prices, even if you seem to be overpaying for that rocket. Richard Driehaus, the godfather of momentum investing, takes exception to buying low and selling high: "I believe that far more money is made buying high and selling at even higher prices." And our Rule Breakers analysts would agree with that: momentum-like criteria show up twice in the six pillars of that newsletter's strategy.

Price momentum may not be a traditional marker of a strong business or a capable management team, but when you think about it, those qualities should eventually generate strong returns. This is just a slightly backward way of looking at the numbers, throwing "cause" and "effect" into the same basket to find a starting point for more research.

So what kind of rockets can we find today? I took that question to our CAPS screener, looking for stocks that have at least doubles from 52-week lows and are still within 10% of yearly highs.

One stock that caught my eye among the resulting 129 tickers today is movie rental maven and Stock Advisor recommendation Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX). Netflix has rewarded a few lucky shareholders with staggering 237% returns -- if you bought shares in early September of last year. Since then, it's been nothing but blue skies ahead, and the stock looks set to explore new highs again and again.

Here's how Netflix's gains stack up against some direct rivals over the past year:


% Above 52-Week Low

% Below 52-Week High




Coinstar (Nasdaq: CSTR)


(25%) (Nasdaq: AMZN)



Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)



Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results, and you should always do more research after finding a promising stock by screening. In this case, Netflix can back up the market-crushing performance with solid business.

Nobody else can rent out movies the way Netflix does; many have been called, but none were chosen. The red envelopes for shipping rented DVDs are now iconic, though the real future of this business is in digital movie streams. Apple and Amazon offer a very different model from what Netflix does, as they ask you to rent movies piecemeal for a few bucks each. Coinstar's Redbox does the same thing in a more physical format. Extreme convenience for a low monthly subscription fee is the Netflix recipe, and the company stands utterly alone.

Buy now or forever hold your peace: This rocket still has plenty of dry powder left in its growth engines.