The Week's Top Stock Gainers

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

On the bright side, it now seems almost assured that Greece will receive its next round of bailout funding and avoid a near-term, disorderly default. That's not to say that investors are settled about that heavily indebted country or the struggling eurozone as a whole, but it appears to at least be a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, in the United States, economic signals continue to be mixed, as January durable-goods orders posted a surprisingly large drop, while consumer confidence is showing some relative strength.

Throw that all together, and we ended up with a week where the S&P 500 index was up yet again but other indexes were stuck in neutral. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) managed to close above the psychologically important 13,000 on Tuesday, but it couldn't hold on and ended the week roughly flat. The broader Russell 3000 had a similar experience -- posting gains during the week, but finishing out basically back where it started.

Top 3 Performing Sectors

Russell 3000 Sector

Weekly Price Change

Month-to-Date Price Change

Consumer Discretionary1.3%0.6%
Financials0.7%0.5%
Telecom Services0.7%0.7%

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is Feb. 24-March 2. Monthly price change is Feb. 29-March 3.

Independent oil and gas company ATP Oil & Gas (NAS: ATPG) got a big boost this week, after the company announced some positive developments at one of its well sites. On Monday, the company announced the first oil production at the "Mississippi Canyon Block 942-A-3" well and said that production rates were meeting expectations. On Friday, the company followed up with a report that the well was kicking out 7,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with oil accounting for 85% of the production. ATP's stock rode those positive developments to a hefty 21% gain for the week.

For business-process software company Pegasystems, it was a positive earnings report that sent the stock soaring. Interestingly, the company's past-quarter results seemed to trump its outlook, as the former looked great while the latter was a bit soft. For the fourth quarter, Pegasystems earned $0.16 per share on $115 million in revenue, well above the $105 million in revenue and $0.05 in per-share profit that Wall Street was looking for. However, as the company looked ahead to 2012, its revenue outlook topped previous Wall Street estimates, but its profit guidance came up short. Nevertheless, the stock finished the week with a whopping 23% advance.

Top 3 Performing Russell 3000 Companies

Company

Weekly Price Change

Pegasystems23.2%
ATP Oil & Gas20.9%
Shutterfly20.2%

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is Feb. 24-March 2. Includes only companies with a market cap of $250 million or higher.

Joining in on the big gains during the week were Cheniere Energy (ASE: LNG) and Fusion-io (NYS: FIO) . At the outset of the week, Cheniere shares jumped on the news that private-equity kingpin Blackstone is investing $2 billion in Cheniere's subsidiary, Cheniere Energy Partners (ASE: CQP) to help the company build a gas-liquefaction plant in Louisiana. Some analysts had been skeptical that Cheniere would be able to get financing for the plant, so the hefty commitment from Blackstone caused a rush for shares. That wasn't all that Cheniere had going for it this week, though, as shares jumped again on Thursday on reports that Japan may start importing U.S. liquefied natural gas. When all was said and done, Cheniere shares had tacked on 19% for the week.

For Fusion-io, the share-price tailwind came from a positive note from investment bank Credit Suisse, where analyst Kulbinder Garcha reinstated the bank's coverage of Fusion-io, slapping on a $50 price target and trouncing the rest of Wall Street's expectations for the company by estimating $527 million in revenue for 2013. Fusion-io's shares finished the week with a 14% gain.

That's it for this week's top-performers recap. If you're looking for some ideas for strong outperformers for the rest of year, The Motley Fool has created a brand new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access -- it's free.

At the time this article was published Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Pegasystems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors.Fool contributorMatt Koppenhefferowns shares of Blackstone but has nofinancial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting hisCAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter,@KoppTheFool, or onFacebook. The Fool'sdisclosure policyprefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story

Want more news like this?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners