The Week's Top Stock Gainers

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After a long streak of weekly gains, the major U.S. indexes fell this week as investors re-evaluated just how long they'd let stocks rise before cashing in some of those gains. Contributing to the pessimism during the week were lackluster economic reports out of China, leading investors to wonder whether growth for that global powerhouse may be slowing faster than expected. On the other hand, leading economic indicators in the U.S. rose faster than anticipated, while initial jobless claims fell more than expected.

By the time the dust had settled on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) had shed 1.2%, while the broader Russell 3000 lost 0.5%. Though stocks broadly lost ground, there will still plenty of individual stocks that managed to buck the trend and post serious gains.

Top 3 Performing Sectors

Russell 3000 Sector

Weekly Price Change

Month-to-Date Price Change

Consumer Discretionary0.6%3.4%
Consumer Staples0.5%2%
Information Technology0.4%4%

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 16-March 23. Monthly price change is Feb. 29-March 23.

Despite the lack of news out of Arena Pharmaceuticals (NAS: ARNA) , its stock managed to be one of the top performers of the past week. How did it manage that? Simply being a sub-$5 biopharma stock that promises huge gains if the Food and Drug Administration provides a thumbs-up is sometimes enough to provide a wild ride -- both ups and downs -- for investors.

However, the past week's gains for Arena may be continued momentum from the FDA advisory panel's strong vote in favor of competitor VIVUS' (NAS: VVUS) drug Qnexa. That favorable vote gave Arena investors hope that the FDA may change its tune on weight-loss drugs in general. Also probably contributing to the stock's rise was a very positive blog post on Seeking Alpha that argued in favor of an approval for Arena's lorcaserin.

Gormans Stores, meanwhile, caught a tailwind after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Though total revenue for the quarter fell slightly short of analysts' expectations, the Omaha, Neb.-based department-store operator posted earnings per share of $0.53 versus estimates of $0.50. Net income was up 21% from the prior year on a sales boost of 10%. Comparable-store sales were up 2.1% for the quarter.

Top 3 Performing Russell 3000 Companies

Company

Weekly Price Change

Arena Pharmaceuticals36.9%
Gormans Stores32.3%
Cost Plus25.9%

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 16-March 23. Includes only companies with a market cap of $250 million or higher.

Joining in on the big gains during the week were Smith & Wesson (NAS: SWHC) and Glu Mobile (NAS: GLUU) .

Gun maker Smith & Wesson saw its shares surge after competitor Sturm, Ruger said it had received so many gun orders in the first quarter that it opted to suspend new orders until May. The news probably not only stoked investors' expectations for the orders that Smith & Wesson has been receiving, but they may also see opportunity for Smith & Wesson to mop up excess demand while Sturm, Ruger is playing catchup on its backlog.

Glu Mobile caught a serious updraft after Wall Street firm Needham initiated coverage on the stock with a strong buy rating and an $8 price target. Considering that Glu's closing price before the release of the report was just $4, it's no wonder the coverage caused a stir.

Smith & Wesson finished the week up nearly 16%, while Glu Mobile rose a torrid 23%.

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 We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.Fool contributorMatt Koppenhefferhas no financial interest in any of the 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.

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