There are plenty of investors worried about the year that lies ahead.
Europe's still a mess, and even the stateside economy is on shaky ground. As companies are facing tax and cost increases in 2013, it wouldn't be a shock to see them scale back to preserve profitability.
It's not bad everywhere, though. There are plenty of companies that are still expected to grow nicely in 2013. Let's go over five of the many companies where analysts see revenue and earnings growing by at least 20 percent next year. Hopefully that will cheer you up.
Redefining cheap chic, Five Below is a trendy retailer where everything costs $5 or less. From iPad speakers to fashion accessories to video games, Five Below is a cut -- and several bucks -- above the useless dollar-store fluff.
Yes, there are plenty of thrift stores and discount outlets out there, but Five Below is the only one that's making cheap merchandise cool for its youngish clientele. The company is expanding quickly, and going public several months ago will help bankroll the next leg of building out its magnetic stores.
Most enterprise software companies will be challenged in 2013. Too many companies are either cutting back or hesitant to make the necessary IT investments. As the poster child for the cloud computing revolution, Salesforce is at the right place at the right time. Companies turn to Salesforce for corporate software solutions that are cheaper than traditional alternatives. The nature of Web-stored programs and data also makes the solutions more portable and convenient -- as long as the Internet doesn't go down.
3D printing is no longer something out of sci-fi fantasies. Printers really are cranking out physical goods, from dental pieces to replacement parts. 3D Systems is one of the market leaders, and the stock has more than tripled in 2012 as investors warm up to the prospects.
Yes, the niche is still in its infancy. The printers are too slow, and they're too expensive. However, as they get faster and cheaper -- and they will -- 3D printing will become a more popular process for companies and even consumers.
Investors seeking high growth in Internet companies can turn to China. Despite having lagged behind other countries in initially migrating to cyberspace, China already has the world's largest Internet population. Baidu is the country's leading search engine, serving up more than two-thirds of China's search queries.
Sure, there are concerns that China's restrictive government will clamp down on the freedoms inherent with online surfing. The so-called "great firewall of China" isn't a myth, and regulators are moving toward verifying the identity of citizens going online. Baidu isn't growing as quickly as it used to, and a rival's pesky new search engine is a threat to swipe market share in 2013. However, the growth is there for a stock that is now trading at just 16 times forward earnings.
Selling high-end yoga and athletic wear to affluent women may seem like an odd recipe for success, but Lululemon has managed to grow briskly despite the uncertain economy that has rocked many traditional retailers. Never underestimate the power of an aspirational brand.
Comparable-store sales for the Vancouver-based company soared 18 percent on a constant-dollar basis in its most recent quarter, and there's no slowing down. Success has invited imitators putting out cheaper knockoffs, but the brand's strength keeps shoppers from flinching at paying $100 for a pair of yoga pants.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Baidu and 3D Systems, has long puts on salesforce.com, and has created a covered strangle position on 3D Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Baidu, salesforce.com, 3D Systems, and lululemon athletica.