BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- 2014's stock market performance so far has been a bit, well, uninspiring. Since the calendar flipped to January, the big S&P 500 index has climbed a whopping 1.6%. And drilling down to individual names yields some even less impressive returns.
But the statistics still favor more upside this year, following 2013's huge run higher. Since 1975, there have been only 11 years when the S&P 500 has returned more than 20% in a single calendar year. And in those years, average gains for the following year have come in at a hefty 12.8%.
That means that Mr. Market could still have a lot of catching up to do in the latter half of this year. To take full advantage of the trend, we're turning to a fresh set of "Rocket Stocks" for 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. In the last 249 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500 by 76.85%.
Without further ado, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks.