BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- With the first trading days of July on their way later this week, investors are hopeful that a new month will bring with it new chances at decreased volatility and bullish sentiment. But those hopes could be thwarted early this week as central banks' concerns over worldwide deficit spending come to a head following the Bank for International Settlements' annual meeting in Basel, Switzerland.
Government spending has taken the forefront of the stock market since May, when potential solvency issues in Greece led to a mass exodus from the country's sovereign debt and a subsequent bailout from the EU.
But while investor concerns could hold the market down this week, we'll attempt to maximize our gain potential for the next five trading days by turning to the Rocket Stocks.
For the uninitiated, Rocket Stocks are our weekly list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. In the last 50 weeks, Rocket Stocks have outperformed the
index by 53.70%.
Here's a look at
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Computer memory maker
announces earnings today, giving investors a glimpse of how the stock has performed over the last quarter. Micron is a major manufacturer of DRAM and NAND flash memory, the latter of which stands to deliver substantial growth in 2010. Coupled with increased consumer spending this quarter, this tech firm could be the beneficiary of respectable growth.
Micron has long been a big player in the DRAM business, and the company's 2006 acquisition of Lexar Media gave Micron an instant power play in NAND technology, the flash memory that's used in everything from thumb drives to MP3 players to netbooks. With an increasing trend toward these solid state drives, this part of Micron's business offers ample opportunities for increased numbers in 2010.
Micron's sales are split between original equipment manufacturers, such as cell phone and computer makers, and retailers, such as
(WMT). That diverse sales base helps keep Micron's top-line numbers safe from macroeconomic headwinds, but it comes at the cost of price control. Still, a broad increase in consumer tech spending should take its mark on the company this quarter.
While all eyes are on
in the wake of the company's current
could stand to walk away with concerned consumers' dollars in the end. While Kellogg remains the top cereal company in the U.S., General Mills continues to give the giant a run for its money thanks to brands such as Cheerios, the biggest cereal brand in the industry stable at 12% market share. Watch for General Mills' earnings numbers this week.
Cereal is far from the only area in which General Mills operates. The 150-year-old company owns household brands such as Pillsbury, Yoplait and Haagen-Dazs. Those names have helped General Mills generate substantial free cash flow -- around $1.3 billion last year -- and kept the company's financials afloat as input costs soared and consumers crept into store brands.
General Mills is sitting on an exciting growth play through its Cereal Partners Worldwide joint venture with
, a business that the companies hope will give them access to developing markets in key countries such as China, where Western customs are infiltrating traditional lifestyles. The company announces its quarterly numbers on June 29.
( MXB) is the result of a 2007 spin-off from
. The company, which provides benchmarks, indices and risk management data for institutional investors, is another pre-earnings play that we're getting into this week. With thick profit margins, a recurring revenue model and the potential for new fund issues based on its benchmarks in 2010, this stock could deliver the numbers needed for a jump in share price in the short term.
As one of the biggest equity index providers in the world, MSCI's portfolio of 120,000 provides exposure to nearly every corner of the market -- particularly abroad, where MSCI's benchmarks are used as the basis for a number of extremely popular international ETFs. The acquisitions of Barra in 2004 and RiskMetrics post-spinoff have provided the company with considerable exposure to the highly proprietary portfolio analytics market -- a space where MSCI has thus far proved itself to be a very profitable leader.
Since MSCI's subscription-based revenues are highly recurring, this company is one of the few financial firms that managed to keep its head above water in the wake of 2008's market crash. It should continue to be a safe haven for investors who are overly anxious about stocks right now.
Who Owns MSCI?
For more stocks that made this week's cut, including
, check out the
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Jonas Elmerraji is the editor and portfolio manager of the Rhino Stock Report, a free investment advisory that returned 15% in 2008. He is a contributor to numerous financial outlets, including Forbes and Investopedia, and has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, in Consumer's Digest and on MSNBC.com.