10. Nuance Communications (NUAN)
Company profile: Nuance, with a market value of $8 billion, makes speech-recognition software for use in automated call centers, mobile phones, global positioning systems, and personal computers. Early this month, it announced the planned purchase of the medical transcription company Transcend Services, which will boost its presence in the health care business.
Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 3.7% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 41%. Analysts give its shares 13 "buy" ratings, two "buy/holds," three "holds," and one "sell," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. It's expected to earn $1.56 per share this year and earnings will grow 13% next year.
9. Celgene (CELG)Company profile: Celgene, with a market value of $33 billion, is a biopharmaceutical firm that develops therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and immunological diseases. Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 12.5% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 16.4%. Analysts give the company 15 "buy" ratings, eight "buy/holds," and seven "holds," per S&P. S&P has it rated "strong buy" with a $93 price target, a 24% premium to the current price. The company is expected to earn $4.83 per share this year and $5.66 next year, a 17% increase. 8. CommVault Systems ( CVLT) Company profile: CommVault, with a market value of $23 billion, is the developer of the Simpana software package, which helps companies manage their storage resources, independent of platform or location. Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 14% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 45%. Analysts give its shares three "buy" ratings, three "buy/holds," 10 "holds," and one "sell," a survey of analysts by S&P shows. S&P has the shares rated "hold" on valuation concerns, but said the company will gain market share and its growth will outpace that of the rest of its industry. 7. First BanCorp (FBP) Company profile: First BanCorp, with a market value of $806 million, is the holding company for FirstBank Puerto Rico, which operates more than 50 banking offices and supermarket branches in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 15% this year and have a three-year, average annual loss of 57%. Analysts give its shares one "buy" rating and one "hold," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. It earned $2.18 per share in 2011, a big turnaround from the losses of the prior two years. The $74 million Schneider Small Cap Value Fund (SCMVX), up 20.7% this year, has been buying regional bank stocks and late last year initiated a 2.4% portfolio stake in this company. 6. Rackspace Hosting (RAX) Company profile: Rackspace, with a market value of $7 billion, is a managed hosting and cloud computing provider. Cloud computing is the faster-growing market segment and recently reached more than 20% of overall revenue. Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 29% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 110%. Analysts give them five "buy" ratings, four "buy/holds," 10 "holds," and one "weak hold," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. It has 73% institutional investor ownership.
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