The market was kind during the third quarter. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq respectively advanced 10%, 11%, and 12% during the past three months, and there were several stocks that performed considerably better than that.
Let's go over a few of the quarter's biggest winners, checking out some of the stocks that more than doubled during the period.
Solar energy plays have been hot, pardon the pun.
If you're kicking yourself over missing out on a stock that has more than tripled since the end of June, get in line. There aren't a lot of investors familiar with the maker of silicon wafers, solar cells, and modules because Jinko didn't even begin trading publicly until May, pricing its debut at $11 a share.
The solar play wasn't an overnight sensation, falling to the single digits a few trading days after its Wall Street debut. However, Jinko's attractive cost profile results in decent gross margins. It also doesn't hurt that the company delivered a second-quarter profit of $1.39 when analysts were banking on net income of $0.59 a share.
I singled out VirnetX as a leading buyout candidate last month, a few months after the Internet security software company won a patent case against the world's largest software company. There aren't too many companies that make Microsoft
If VirnetX's intellectual properties are that potent, isn't it just a matter of time before it gets acquired by another fat target in its legal crosshairs? Either way, VirnetX has come a long way since it resorted to a 1-for-3 reverse stock split three years ago.
When investors think of companies outsourcing IT functions, India comes to mind. However, if the world's second-most populous nation can get in on the fun, why not the world's largest nation?
HiSoft is one of China's leading providers of outsourced information technology and research and development services. You can measure HiSoft's public life with a stopwatch; its shares went public in late June at $10 apiece.
This remains a quiet success story. It has only 16 member ratings in Motley Fool CAPS, and -- unless I miss my mark -- this is the first time the stock has been written about in a Fool.com article, but it probably won't be the last.
I already pointed out that solar stocks were blazing hot plays this past quarter. Jinko led the way, but others, including ReneSola and LDK Solar
After posting five consecutive quarterly losses, ReneSola broke out of the red earlier this year -- hopefully for keeps. Between its recent profitability and new module orders trickling in, ReneSola is positioned well in a sector that is clearly back in favor.
As a fan and follower of this travel-deals publisher, I can point to the exact catalyst behind Travelzoo's late quarter run.
The stock was meandering in the low teens in August, when it introduced Local Deals. The move to sell vouchers for discounted local experiences ripped a page out of the Groupon playbook -- a fast-growing online company that has bubbled up to a 10-figure valuation on the perfect execution of a simple group-buying model.
Travelzoo is positioned well in making this work. It already reaches out to 21 million opt-in subscribers who are hunting for travel bargains published in Travelzoo's weekly namesake email blast of sponsored getaway deals.
Calling Abner Doubleday
A strong third quarter won't translate into a healthy fourth quarter for these stocks -- despite the heady momentum.
Jinko and ReneSola will continue to be volatile plays pegged to the cyclical highs and lows of solar power. VirnetX rewarded its investors with a one-time dividend after the Microsoft deal, but that may be a hard act to follow. HiSoft is still a small enough company where anything can happen to catapult it higher or lower. Travelzoo will have to prove that LocalDeals can be a hit, in order to justify its more robust valuation.
However, all five of these stocks came to life this summer. Kudos to those who caught on early.
Which of these five stocks do you think will double again? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders how rich he would be if his portfolio doubled every quarter. He sadly does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. 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.