5 Stocks That Have More Than Doubled in 2013

<b class="credit">Ronda Churchill/Bloomberg News</b>
Ronda Churchill/Bloomberg News

The first quarter was a great one for investors. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose by more than 8 percent, and the S&P 500 fared even better, soaring 10 percent.

Naturally, there are companies that performed better than that. In fact, a handful more than doubled over the past three months. Wondering which companies you'll want to kick yourself for missing out on? Let's go over a few of them.

Caesars Entertainment (CZR) -- Up 129 percent

Wall Street's biggest winner was Caesars Entertainment, even though the casino operator isn't exactly hitting the jackpot, financially speaking. Revenue declined in its latest quarter, and Caesars isn't expected to turn a profit again until 2016 at the earliest.

So why are investors wagering on Caesars if it seems to be a bad bet fundamentally? Online gambling: Caesars is well positioned to cash in if revenue-hungry states free up restrictions on Internet-based gambling.

In the meantime, Caesars is investing in its properties, opening the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant at Caesars Palace in February and hoping to open the Linq entertainment district by the end of the year.

Consumer Portfolio Services (CPSS) -- Up 118 percent

The market has rewarded risk-takers so far in 2013, and Consumer Portfolio Services is no stranger to risk.

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The specialty finance company buys retail installment sales contracts from auto dealerships that have a hard time lining up traditional financing for their customers. We're talking about car buyers with crummy credit scores.

This is a risky business, but it's paying off for the financier at a time when auto sales are booming and the economy is showing signs of life. Plus, Consumer Portfolio Services knows that the loans are secured by late-model used vehicles that can be reclaimed from deadbeat drivers.

Consumer Portfolio Services posted better-than-expected quarterly results in February. Revenue climbed by 11 percent, and adjusted earnings of $0.16 a share drove past the pros parked at $0.12 a share.

SunPower (SPWR) -- Up 105 percent

There's been a dark cloud over solar energy for investors lately, but even so, SunPower has been a shining star.

Unlike most solar firms, which are based out of China, SunPower is a sun-loving Californian. Many of its deals for solar panels and systems stem from homebuilders, schools, businesses, and utility companies in this country. SunPower is also profitable, at least on an adjusted basis. With oil and gas prices still too high for comfort, don't be surprised if solar energy bounces back.

Netflix (NFLX) -- Up 104 percent

No one's laughing at the company behind the short-lived Qwikster fiasco these days. Netflix has been on fire since it bottomed out last summer, more than tripling in that time. A surge in streaming customers and a surprisingly quick return to profitability despite the heavy costs of expanding into dozens of overseas markets have transformed Netflix into the toast of Wall Street.

Analysts have been scrambling to raise their profit targets. Three months ago, Wall Street was banking on earnings of $0.40 a share this year and $1.41 a share in 2014. Now those same analysts see a profit of $1.37 a share in 2013 and $2.99 a share come next year.

Republic Airways (RJET) -- Up 103 percent

Airlines have historically been lousy investments. But investors have been piling on board again.

Consolidation is easing up pricing pressures, and an improving economy finds passengers booking corporate and leisure travel again.

Republic Airways is the company behind its namesake airlines as well as Frontier. Analysts see Republic earning $1.52 a share this year and $1.82 a share next year, pricing the shares at just six times next year's projected profitability. This is a cyclical business, but that's too tempting a valuation even after the nifty double.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.