BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- The final week of September is kicking off on a high note. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is up more than 16%, making it a stellar year from a historical standpoint. And there are plenty more trading days left in 2012 for investors who've been late to the game.
Traditionally, seasonality during the Fall months is great for investors. In fact, over the last decade, September through December has statistically been the best-performing chunk of the year, earning average performance of 6%. Of those months, September is typically the worst performer; if the 4% stocks have rallied so far this month is the worst of it, then it'll be interesting indeed to see how this year ends.
With many fund managers late to the game in buying stocks this year, it also seems likely that we'll see institutional buyers in "window dressing mode" as we tick into the fourth quarter over the weekend. Being out of stocks for the past couple of months has been enough to get hammered versus a benchmark in 2012, and managers are going to be looking to start buying some popular stock names to make up for it.That's why we're turning to a new set of Rocket Stocks this week. 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. >>5 Stocks Under $10 Set to Soar In the last 169 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500 by 77.11%. Without further ado, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks.