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By Jonas Elmerraji
The markets continued their downward trend last week, spurred on by concerns over earnings and the state of the economy. The S&P 500 closed 1.93% lower on Friday. As we approach the coming week, all eyes are on where the market's headed next.
Futures were mixed leading into Monday's trading, giving rise to hopes that the market could turn things around and continue the rally that tapered off late last month. But while stocks fizzle, it's a great time to take a look at rocket stocks -- beaten-down stocks with short-term catalysts for growth and long-term investment potential.Before we get to this week's list, here's a look at how last week's rocket stocks have fared. First on our list was Equifax (EFX - Get Report), one of three companies consumers turn to when they want a credit report. We liked Equifax's deep economic moats and rebound potential as the market for consumer credit starts to loosen back up. On Thursday, the company announced that it would be releasing its second-quarter 2009 earnings on July 22. Analysts expect the company to deliver 57 cents per share. Equifax ended the week mostly flat, with a drop of 0.24%. Insurer American Financial Group (AFG) had a markedly better week, with a gain of 2.43%. Like Equifax, the company announced its second-quarter earnings release this week, scheduled for July 28. But a bigger price driver was AFG's selection to the 2008 list of Interactive Health Solutions' "Healthiest Companies in America" last Thursday. Stericycle (SRCL - Get Report) is a medical waste company that we liked for the bottom-line boost that America's aging baby boomer population is sure to provide over the next several years, not to mention its recession resistance. But while the company held up well through 2008, last week proved more challenging as the stock slid 2.47% under pressure from technical traders.