BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- With wrapping paper still sitting around many Americans' Christmas trees, and just a few days left until the official end of 2011, many investors are taking their eyes off of the market this week.
Traditionally, the week between Christmas and New Year's Day offers relatively low trading volume as traders spend a few days away from their screens. That's likely to be especially true this year, as a frustrating investing environment left plenty of opportunities for both longs and shorts to take losses. As I write, the S&P 500 is up only 0.6% on the year, making 2011 the least-changed year since 1970 if stocks don't post a material move this week.
But don't let "least changed" fool you -- 2011 has also been one of the most volatile years on record. To combat that, we're looking for gains in a new set of Rocket Stocks this week, our final list for 2011.For the uninitiated, "Rocket Stocks" are our list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. To find them, I run a weekly quantitative screen that seeks out stocks with a combination of analyst upgrades and positive earnings surprises to identify rising analyst expectations, a bullish signal for stocks in any market. After all, where analysts' expectations are increasing, institutional cash often follows.
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