Stocks Shaking the Investment World

There are one-hit wonders, and then there are those stocks that the initial big move is only a preview for even bigger and better gains to come.

Today, we list a pair of stocks that despite the incredible volatility in the market made some of the biggest moves higher over the past month, which we'll pair with the ratings issued by our Motley Fool CAPS community. The higher each stock's rating, the greater CAPS members' faith in that company's ability to keep on beating the market.


1-Month % Change

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NAS: VRTX)



Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS)



Source: One-month percentage change from Feb. 8 to March 9.

While you were out, the markets turned tail and fell on concerns over Europe's fragile financial system. So before we get shaken out again, let's see why the CAPS community thinks some of these companies might continue to outperform the market.

A mighty temblor
Hepatitis C therapy Incivek continues to perform as Vertex Pharmaceuticals expected it would, with first-quarter revenues coming in at $357 million, but now it also has revenues coming in from Kalydeco, a cystic fibrosis treatment that got FDA approval at the end of January. While the drug contributed $18 million in the first quarter, what got Vertex's shares soaring was the news that when it was taken in combination with another drug under development, VX-809, mid-stage trials showed promising results. One analyst has pegged the market opportunity at around $4 billion.

It's this pipeline of drugs that has CAPS member ravens9111 believing there's even more growth in Vertex's future beyond just what Kalydeco can bring to the table: "Also under development in clinical trials are drugs to address rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, and influenza. The company is dedicated to continuing R&D to keep their pipeline producing new drugs to market."

Tell us in the comments section below how soon you believe this commitment to research will pay off, and then add Vertex to your Watchlist to be notified of the latest drug-trial developments.

Read all about it!
Even though the initial gleam of Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble hasn't yet worn off, the lasting impact of what it can bring to the Nook and the bookseller's battle with (NAS: AMZN) lingers on. Yet the overall outcome seems assured: Apple (NAS: AAPL) remains victor.

According to the latest results, shipments of the Kindle e-reader stumbled badly in the first quarter as Amazon's market share plummeted to just 4%, down sharply from the 17% it held in the fourth quarter as it was a popular Christmas stocking stuffer, and putting it in third place behind Samsung. While that suggests there is more room for the Nook to gain some elbow room, what it really makes clear is just how dominant Apple is, as it shipped 11.8 million iPads in the quarter, expanding its market share to 68% from 54.7% at the end of December.

Part of Barnes & Noble's pullback may also have to do with the fact that it trails the pack poorly, coming in fifth place behind Lenovo. Yet it just announced that demand for its new Simple Touch version is so popular that it's temporarily sold out.

Rumors of spinning off the Nook into a separate business and combining it with the bookseller's college-text business has some rightly worried whether Barnes & Noble can survive without the e-reader.

Highly rated CAPS All-Star member JaysRage viewed B&N as a "dead man walking" before the deal, though after its announcement he wondered: Why not just buy the bookseller outright? The broader community's opinion seems to concur with his original opinion, though, as 53% of those rating Barnes & Noble see it underperforming the broad averages. Add the bookseller to the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and tell us on the Barnes & Noble CAPS page whether you think aligning itself with Microsoft will be the last chapter in this story.

Shake, rattle, and roll
These two stocks shook the market this past month, but the Fool has found one company that's digging up massive profits and is likely to continue to do so if the markets become rattled. Roll on over to get your free copy, but hurry, because it's available only for a limited time.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorRich Dupreyowns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of, Microsoft, Apple, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple, and writing puts on Barnes & Noble. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. 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.

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