Some gains -- and losses -- aren't justified.
Let's take Taser International (NAS: TASR) on for size.
The stun-gun maker hit a new 52-week high this morning, capping off a solid week for the company. The charged up excitement began on Monday with a strong quarterly report, followed by news later in the week that the company had received five significant orders for its state-of-the-art less-than-lethal weaponry.
The thing with Taser is that there's never a shortage of new orders trickling in. The company's challenge -- and why it remains trading in the single digits -- is that it can't get those Rick Sanchez-stunning guns to grow its profitability materially.
In fact, analysts see Taser earning just $0.10 a share next year, short of the $0.11 a share that Wall Street was forecasting just three months ago. Is this the way projections should be heading for a stock hitting fresh highs?
Check the estimates on the stocks in your portfolio. How many of them are going the wrong way? It's happening an awful lot lately.
Pop go these weasels
Thankfully, there are exceptions to the markdown rule. There are several companies for which analysts have actually been increasing their projections over the past few problematic months.
Let's take a look at five companies that are bucking the malaise.
90 Days Ago
iRobot (NAS: IRBT)
Spreadtrum Communications (NAS: SPRD)
MasterCard (NYS: MA)
Liz Claiborne (NYS: LIZ)
Pandora (NYS: P)
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Let's start at the top with iRobot.
The company behind Roomba vacuum cleaners, Scooba floor scrubbers, and PackBot military robots knows a thing or two about engineering. If you're not sold on the company's array of robotic products, see how it's mastering the art of making analysts seem like pessimists by trouncing Wall Street estimates for more than two years. Its most recent quarter was another stunner.
Spreadtrum is a leader in baseband processor solutions for the wireless communications market. It reports its quarterly results next week, and the pros see Spreadtrum's revenue and net income soaring more than 80%. With growth like that it's no wonder that the prognosticators are still trying to catch up.
MasterCard is the credit card marketer that continues to benefit from the plastic-swiping world that this has become. Can you imagine how brisk MasterCard's transactional events will be once the economy actually shows some signs of life?
Liz Claiborne's move last month to sell several of its brands -- including its namesake brand -- in a $328 million deal is exciting investors. Using the proceeds to pay down its debt and key in on its premium Juicy Couture, Lucky, and kate spade brands appears to be a move that is not only transforming Liz Claiborne into a glitzier growth story but apparently one that will eventually beef up its bottom line.
Pandora is the country's top music-streaming company. Its website and popular mobile app deliver customized tunes that get smarter by adapting to listener preferences. There's plenty of growth but no profitability in streaming these days, but Pandora's getting close. Wall Street now sees the company nearly breaking even next year.
2012, don't be late
Ben Graham once said that the market is a voting machine in the short run, but a weighing machine in the long run. In other words, the fundamentals will eventually win out over near-term fluctuations. With all five of these companies in better shape than they were three months ago, there's a golden opportunity to game the unfair voting machine.
These five companies are better than they used to be. These five stocks will follow.
If you want to track these five stocks, consider adding them to the My Watchlist feature.
AddSpreadtrum Communicationsto My Watchlist.
Add Pandora Media to My Watchlist.
Add MasterCard to My Watchlist.
Add Liz Claiborne to My Watchlist.
Add iRobot to My Watchlist.
At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool owns shares of MasterCard.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of iRobot. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributorRick Munarrizcalls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
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