BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- An early rally is the hot topic of the morning: Investors are excited for a bullish push following positive economic data from China as well as less-stringent-than-expected financial regulations for banks following a Sunday meeting among worldwide officials in Basel, Switzerland.
In the People's Republic, a large ramp-up in industrial production coupled with strong retail sales numbers to excite investors about the Chinese economy -- considered not long ago to be a major growth opportunity for U.S. investors. While China's equity market contracted violently in the wake of 2008's credit crunch, the country is starting to show its bullish cards to investors once again. At the Basel meeting, while regulators mandated that banks would need to raise their capital minimums, they'll be given ample time to ramp up reserves.
For U.S. stock investors, these are just a couple of reasons that suggest September could be a strong month for the market. As usual on Mondays, that means we're going to try to maximize our intraweek gain potential by looking at a new group of five Rocket Stock plays.
For the uninitiated, Rocket Stocks are our weekly list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. In the last 60 weeks, Rocket Stocks have outperformed the
is an $18 billion oil company that operates in two segments: oil production and refining. The latter includes the 1,357 Hess gas stations that dot the Eastern U.S. But all eyes are on the E&P division right now -- the group owns a very attractive portfolio of oil and gas projects spread throughout North America, Australia, North Africa and the Middle East that flow through to Hess' refinery capacity of more than 280,000 barrels a day.
Growth is the biggest story for Hess right now, as management hones in on drilling at projects with the most potential to increase the firm's capabilities over the next few years. In the past few years of relatively high oil prices, Hess has done a good job of paying down debt and solidifying its financial position. As such, investors who get in now stand to benefit in a big way from management's good decisions.
That said, the company still lags the broad market in 2010. Shares are down 10% year-to-date, stifled slightly by the knocks that resource companies have taken in the wake of the spill in the Gulf. Similarly, because Hess lacks the operational prowess of the super majors, the stock has been overly ignored. That could change soon though thanks to rising analyst expectations in shares.
It's been a different story for
this year. The design software company has seen its shares rally more than 20% since the first trading day of January, outpacing the S&P 500 by a considerable clip. Autodesk's biggest product is AutoCAD, the gold standard of the computer-aided design business. With huge market share advantages over the competition, Autodesk should continue to see shares improve in 2010.
Because Autodesk's software is used in the design of everything from housing to industrial machines, some analysts were concerned that sales would slump as production fell in 2008 and 2009. Those fears were largely unfounded. With a sticky customer base, Autodesk benefits from a subscription program that provides customers with continual updates and add-ons, and provides the company with recurring revenues. In total, those recurring sales contributed to 43% of the company's fiscal 2010 revenues.
Big barriers to entry are the biggest ace in Autodesk's pocket. Because AutoCAD is the de facto platform for engineers and designers, competitors will need to offer something truly significant to steal away market share. As the company expands its (paid) presence in emerging markets, expect its top-line numbers to improve in the coming years.
But even Autodesk's performance is eclipsed by Peru's
, a diversified financial services company that's seen its shares rise nearly 47% in 2010. Things haven't always been so rosy for the company, though. Credicorp dealt with all of the problems major insurers, banks and asset managers have faced in recent years because the company operates in all three businesses.
The company also took a large hit in 2009 after falling victim to Bernie Madoff's fraud. Credicorp wrote off a $43.3 million charge last February to account for its losses in the Ponzi scheme.
All of that said, things are looking up for Credicorp. As the world economy improves, this Peruvian stock offers an interesting way to access the South American country's growth prospects. And because the firm enjoys the deep double-digit profitability only seen by regional banks here in the states, earnings potential is immense. Count on increasing institutional ownership as a potential catalyst for gains in 2010.
For more stocks that made this week's cut, including
, check out
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
Follow Stockpickr on
and become a fan on
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.