BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks are on pace to double last year's gains, with the S&P 500 Index up 3.8% so far in 2011. However, unrest in the Middle East has caused a correction. With economic growth expected to accelerate in the first quarter, stocks are still attractive. However, it's best to wait for the pullback to peter out before buying more. The following 10 stocks are among the best performers in the U.S. so far in 2011, ordered by return.
10. Tesoro (TSO) is an oil and gas refiner. Its stock has risen 27% so far in 2011. It has more than doubled in the past 12 months.
Tesoro swung to a modest fourth-quarter profit of $3 million, or two cents a share, from a loss of $179 million, or $1.30, a year earlier. Its revenue grew 20%. The operating margin climbed from negative territory to 0.3%. Tesoro's stock is still cheap, selling for a forward earnings multiple of 11, a book value multiple of 1.1 and a sales multiple of 0.2, 40%, 75% and 94% discounts to oil and gas industry averages.
12-Month Sales Growth: 23%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 79%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 77%
9. Big Lots (BIG) is a closeout retailer, selling food, health and beauty and furniture products. Its stock has rallied 30% in 2011, in part due to takeover rumors. Management is exploring a sale, possibly to private equity investors. Big Lots' fiscal third-quarter net income dropped 42% and earnings per share fell 38%, cushioned by a smaller float. Revenue inched up 2%. The operating margin contracted from 3.3% to 2.6%. Big Lots' stock sells for a trailing P/E of 15 and a forward P/E of 13, 27% and 33% peer discounts. It's expensive based on book value and cash flow. 12-Month Sales Growth: 5.7%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 25%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 24%
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