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By Jonas Elmerraji
) -- Stocks hit new highs for 2009 on Friday after ending higher in nine of the last 11 trading sessions. That streak could find another stumbling point today, as the market opens slightly in the red.
But the rest of the week could hold a markedly different message for investors. On Tuesday, the Federal Open Market Committee begins its meeting on interest rate policy, and though most analysts don't expect any groundbreaking announcements to stem from the meeting, a good message from the
could signal investors to turn bullish once again.
has done very well lately, outperforming the
by 22.5% over the course of the trailing nine weeks, but last week was underwhelming.
top performer was
, which shot up more than twice as much as the rest of the market, 5.76% in the last five trading sessions. The bank stock gained on increased analyst sentiment.
Another bank stock from our list that benefitted from increased sentiment in bank stocks was
Bank of America
, which gained 3.89% last week. That's not to say that all of our bank plays were winners --
shed 7.59% last week in light of internal problems and executive departures.
SPDR Gold Trust
traded essentially flat, losing 0.08%.
Now on to
While the auto industry has had anything but smooth sailing over the last year, falling nearly 7%, one auto-seller has managed to do significantly better without the aid of Cash for Clunkers.
, operates used-car superstores (as well as limited new-car dealerships) in 46 metropolitan markets.
The company puts a fresh face on the used-car buying experience, with no-haggle pricing, warranties standard and a used-vehicle inventory where approximately 85% of the vehicles it retails are 1 to 6 years old with fewer than 60,000 miles. During a recession, when credit flows less freely and consumers are more apt to spend less on vehicles, CarMax is excellently positioned to take advantage. Year to date, the stock has rocketed 142%.
With earnings scheduled for Sept. 22, now could be a phenomenal time to get into this play. Shares of the auto retailer were sliding 16 cents, or 0.8%, to $18.90 recently.
With a relatively strong used-vehicle market, many consumers have been priced out of purchasing an entire vehicle lately, which is why vehicle parts have been such big business.
is an auto-parts store chain with 4,092 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The company, which features strong margins and upcoming earnings on Sept. 23, offers investors a chance to get into one of the few stocks that has actually increased in value since 2007.
Shares of AutoZone were rising 38 cents, or 0.3%, to $152.47 recently.
Increasing investor expectations can be exactly what a stock needs to rocket on good news, which is exactly what's going on with
Chicago Bridge & Iron Company
. The engineering and construction company has seen a number of analyst increases in recent months, the most recent of which came at the end of August, and has a history of surprising investors with expectation-beating results. As contracts keep flowing in despite a slowed construction industry, this stock should continue to set itself apart.
Shares of CBI were down 36 cents, or 2%, at $17.62 recently.
For more stocks that made this week's cut, including
, check out the
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Balitmore.
Stockpickr is a wholly owned subsidiary of TheStreet.com.
At the time of publication, author had no positions in any stocks mentioned.
Jonas Elmerraji based out of Baltimore, 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
, and has been featured in
Investor's Business Daily