NEW YORK (Stockpickr) -- Since the end of World War II, the U.S. economy has grown at a 3.3% average annual pace. Yet investors need to refocus their assumptions. The U.S. economy is now so large that growth in the 2% to 3% range is likely to be the norm in the years ahead -- barring any short-term dips and spikes around recessions. And more moderate growth means that most blue-chip companies will be hard-pressed to boost sales above 10% each year, unless they pull off major acquisitions.
But you can still find pockets of strong growth in various corners of the market. In fact, 64 companies in the S&P 500 are expected to boost sales at a double-digit pace through at least 2014. Here are five companies that are defying the gravitational pull of a slow economy. Each one is on track to boost sales at least 20% in 2012, 2013 and again in 2014.
Cabot Oil & GasProjected 2012 sales growth: 33% 2013 sales growth: 40% 2014 sales growth: 48% Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) was early to the shale gas revolution that now serves as the biggest energy story in the U.S. Cabot spotted the potential of newer technologies that would soon unlock vast gas deposits in the country's various shale formations. Cabot is a leading energy driller in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region, complementing existing strong holdings in Texas' Eagle Ford shale Anadarko basins. Cabot's projected strong growth is due to new wells that are set to be tapped in coming quarters, each of which should see steadily rising output. Cabot is generating strong profits right now from its exposure to crude oil, and if natural gas prices start to move up off of their current multi-year lows, then those above-noted growth rates could prove to be quite conservative. Equally important, the company's various energy fields are predicted to have fairly long useful lives, so revenues could stay aloft for more than a decade to come.
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