BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Even in a down market, there are winners: Companies that are growing despite macro-economic turbulence. Here's a look at five stocks that hit 52-week highs yesterday as the S&P 500 Index fell 2%, erasing its gain in 2011. They are fast-growth companies that have little correlation with the economic and political woes weighing on other equities. Below is a look at the stocks' performance, fundamentals and outlook.
is a specialty company providing independent medical examinations, used by insurance companies and employers to determine the impact and legitimacy of a patient's claims. Examworks is based in Atlanta, but also has offices in New York and 27 other locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The company went public in late October with lead book-runners
. Its stock has advanced 45% since the initial sale, outperforming U.S. indices. Its shares have already appreciated 31% during 2011.
Examworks' fourth-quarter revenue more than tripled to $54 million. Its sales exceeded analysts' consensus expectations by 2.3%. The vast majority of the revenue increase resulted from inorganic growth. Examworks has purchased U.K.
Independent Medical Service
Royal Medical Consultants
and, most recently,
since it went public. The company swung to an adjusted loss of 3 cents a share and a GAAP loss of 20 cents in the latest quarter, but EBITDA multiplied to $10 million. It expects $350 million to $360 million of sales during fiscal 2011.
makes video-, voice- and Web-conferencing products. Polycom reduces the need for business travel, saving time, money and cutting carbon emissions. The company has grown sales, net income and earnings per share 9.4%, 2.4% and 4.2% annually, on average, since 2008. Its stock has achieved annualized gains of 33% over that span. It has advanced 28% already in 2011, but has fallen out of favor with sell-side analysts. It receives 10 "buy" ratings, eight "hold" calls and a "sell" ranking.
Polycom's fourth-quarter adjusted earnings more than doubled to 49 cents, exceeding analysts' projection by an impressive 14%. Sales stretched 27% to $340 million, beating consensus by 3.6%. Performance was bolstered by growth in overseas markets. The company generated nearly half of revenue from its Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia-Pacific units. It has partnerships with service-providers
. Polycom has an ideal financial position for accelerated growth, with $494 million of cash and equivalents and no debt.
owns regional theme parks in North America. It filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and successfully exited in 2010. Based in Grand Prairie, Texas, Six Flags has enjoyed an 87% stock-price jump since June. Shares recorded a 52-week high yesterday, but then fell, posting a loss for the day.
Of equity researchers following Six Flags, all six advocate buying its stock.
forecasts a rise to $72.
Oppenheimer & Co.
expects a rise to $70. Six Flags has a market value of $1.9 billion. Management announced a stock repurchase program in February.The company's fourth-quarter sales grew 20% to $122 million and EBITDA climbed into positive territory, to $22 million, helped by stronger in-park sales, admission ticket sales and sponsorship fees as well as a drop in cash operating costs.
Six Flags increased attendance 19% in the quarter. Still, it remained unprofitable on a GAAP basis, with a $95 million loss, equal to $3.38 a share, for the fourth quarter. Its balance sheet continues to improve. Six Flags held $187 million of cash at quarter's end and $971 million of debt. Debt decreased by 60%.
develops treatments for neurological and psychiatric conditions. Its chief drugs, Xyrem and Luvox, are used to treat narcolepsy and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Jazz's stock has appreciated 46% in 2011, outpacing indices. Jazz has grown sales, net income and earnings per share 50%, 32% and 29% annually, on average, since 2008. Its stock delivered annualized gains of 40% over that span. Still, 2010 was the first year of net profitability. Three researchers rank Jazz's shares "buy" and three rate them "hold."
The company's fourth-quarter adjusted earnings more than doubled to 58 cents, missing analysts' consensus estimate by 3%. Sales, up 39% to $54 million, beat consensus by 2.6%. The performance was helped by 47% net sales growth for Xyrem, with 36% sales growth for Xyrem oral solution. Management forecasts $232 to $245 million of net sales in 2011, with a gross profit margin over 90% and $2.70 to $2.90 of adjusted earnings. Jazz's balance sheet has improved over the past 12 months. Jazz has $45 million of cash and $40 million of debt, for a net liquidity position.
Ulta Salon & Cosmetics
sells cosmetics, fragrances and skin- and hair-care products. It also has in-house, full-service salons. Its stores are located in high-traffic, off-mall locations.
Ulta went public in 2007. Its stock has gained 27% in 2011 and delivered annualized gains of 64% since 2008. Of analysts covering Ulta, half advise buying its stock and half recommend holding it.
offers the highest price target, at $50, ranking Ulta "overweight." The stock commands a premium over peers, costing 25-times forward earnings.
Ulta's adjusted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings increased 41% to 48 cents, outperforming the consensus target by 7.9%. Its sales stretched 20% to $474 million, exceeding consensus by 1.3%. Ulta's gross margin widened from 36% to 37% and its operating margin rose from 8.7% past 10%. Ulta held $111 million of cash and no debt, for a quick ratio of 0.8, at quarter's end. Comparable-store sales, a key metric for retailers, grew more than 10% during the quarter. The company plans to open 61 new stores in 2011 and it is targeting 25% to 30% full-year net income growth.
-- Written by Jake Lynch in Boston.
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