BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- The spotlight will again be on the consumer this week as upcoming retail sales numbers shed light on this year's holiday shopping season, continuing the retail-centric trend that the market's been undertaking for the last couple of weeks.
Retail has also been a focus of our Rocket Stocks list for the last two weeks. Rocket Stocks, a list of beaten-down stocks with near-term growth catalysts and long-term growth potential, have performed especially strongly over the last week, delivering an average 9.49% gain. Over the past 20 weeks, the growing list has outperformed the S&P 500 by 44.83%
In fact, in the last five trading sessions, every single Rocket play has outperformed the
by a significant margin.
Leading the pack last week were
, raking in 16.95% and 15.55%, respectively. Both stocks popped on Friday following a solid earnings release.
Also strong were
, which gained 6.13%,
, which gained 4.46%, and
, which gained 4.38% last week.
And now it's time to tackle a new set of Rocket stocks. Here's a look at
has had a strong year in 2009, with shares appreciating almost 13% year-to-date.
And with November's numbers in as of last week, investors are getting a chance to gauge just how well the company should fare for the biggest retail season of the year. Sales at the company's 563 warehouse stores increased 9% last month over 2008's November revenues.
Despite more stores at competitor Sam's Club, a subsidiary of
, Costco's stores average almost twice as much dollar volume per square foot. That difference is thanks in large part to a higher-end product mix that targets a more-affluent bulk-buying customer.
Earnings on Dec. 10 should do well to solidify Costco's market position and could serve as a big catalyst for a hike in share price this week.
While household product maker
is best known for its namesake product line, the company also owns a portfolio of beauty and personal care brands.
It's that diversity that's helped the company see a 116% increase in its share price in 2009.
The company should continue to do well into the fourth quarter as an uptick in household goods sales translates into higher revenues for Tupperware shareholders. Tupperware has done a good job of catching investor and analyst attention in the past as well with a longstanding history of beating earnings expectations.
And while Tupperware is a while off from announcing sales numbers, its brand recognition should keep it on investors' minds this week.
While we've stayed away from bank stocks for the last few weeks on the Rocket Stocks list, it's hard to abstain completely.
, a diversified financial company that provides retail banking and investment services. Of note is a significant stake in
, the most important of a number of affiliated companies.
PNC benefits from lower credit risk than its competitors and a balance sheet that's in solid shape. In fact, with TARP repayment on many minds right now, PNC is financially fit enough to be the next big bank to repay Uncle Sam's bailout. With PNC, sales growth is the name of the game. The company has outpaced its industry in bringing in banking revenues in the last year, and fee-based investment services have served as a much-needed constant in the revenue stream at the same time.
Positive sentiment should see PNC ahead of its peer group this week.
For more stocks that made this week's cut, including
( ACL) and
, check out the
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
At the time of publication, author had no position in 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 Forbes and Investopedia, and has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, in Consumer's Digest and on MSNBC.com.