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By Jonas Elmerraji

BALTIMORE (

TheStreet

) -- Despite a shaky start for stocks last Monday, last week closed with a respectable gain for the market, with the

S&P 500

up 2.71% and the

Dow

up 2.57%. And Stockpickr's

Rocket Stocks portfolio

fared even better.

The

Rocket Stocks portfolio

is our weekly list of beaten-down stocks that have both short-term catalysts for growth and long-term investment potential. And this week, we're looking back to rocket stocks as a way to outperform the market. First, though, let's take a look at how

last week's picks

performed.

TheStreet Recommends

Bringing in top gains last week was

Sketchers

(SKX) - Get Skechers U.S.A., Inc. Class A Report

. The shoemaker's shares gained 7.95% over the last five trading sessions. Much of Sketchers' growth was thanks to upbeat analyst expectations, such as the upgrade Sterne Agee analysts granted the stock. With ample room for growth as the economy continues to improve, this stock will likely keep up its gains.

Mail-order pharmacy

Express Scripts

(ESRX)

was last week's second-biggest gainer, bringing in 5.68% at the heels of earnings and expansion news.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

performed in line with the market, adding 2.46% for the week, along with

Tidewater

(TDW) - Get Tidewater Inc Report

, which managed to stay in the black with 0.96% gains for the week.

Ford

(F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report

, like many automakers, took advantage of the Cash for Clunkers program that unwinds today, but investors weren't able to see the same benefits from its stock. The company closed down 0.4%.

Now on to

this week's Rocket Stocks

.

First up on this week's list is

American International Group

(AIG) - Get American International Group, Inc. Report

. While the insurance company seems to be in trouble with Federal regulators on a constant basis, a potential bid for an AIG operating unit as well as a recent court victory, should help sway investor confidence back on the side of this firm.

Shares of AIG were trading up 5.2% top $34.55 recently on Monday morning.

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report

could have an exciting week after today's Aug. 28. The new software is Apple's least expensive upgrade, priced at just $29. That low cost should compel quite a few people to pull out their credit cards at an Apple store.

Apple was trading up 0.6% to $170.27 recently.

As more and more of America's workforce come to grips with the realities of getting a job in this economy,

ITT Educational Services

(ESI) - Get Element Solutions Inc Report

is making out in spades. The company, which provides master's, bachelor's and associate degree programs to students in 37 states, is up 8.65% in the last month alone. A continued emphasis on building salable job skills should help the trend continue into the second half on 2009.

ITT was trading up 0.7% to $106.64 recently on Monday.

For more stocks that made this week's cut, including

ConAgra Foods

(CAG) - Get Conagra Brands, Inc. Report

and

Vale

(VALE) - Get Vale SA Report

, check out

the Rocket Stocks portfolio

at Stockpickr.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.

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