BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Asian stocks fell hard early in Monday's trading -- the biggest single-day drop since early February -- as investors abroad reacted to concerns over the lingering financial quandary in Europe. That fact doesn't bode well for stocks here at home, set to start trading just a few hours from this writing.
In the past two weeks markets have fluctuated violently, pushing scores of investors away from equities and toward less-risky investments such as treasuries. But while volatility is on the rise, short-term trades are presenting themselves for investors who are willing to expose their portfolios to May's higher risk profile.
We'll try to capitalize on some of the best gains this week with five more Rocket Stock plays.
In care you're not yet familiar, Rocket Stocks are our weekly list of beaten-down stocks with near-term growth catalysts and long-term fundamental growth potential. They certainly live up to their name; in the past 43 weeks, our list of intraweek plays has outperformed the
index by 50.19%.
Here's a look at
BJ's Wholesale Club
has been one of 2010's major beneficiaries of an increase in consumer spending. The company, which operates 187 clubs in the U.S., may be the smallest of the warehouse retailers both in terms of presence and sales, but that size difference gives BJ's significant room to grow this year. First-quarter earnings on May 19 should give us our first glimpse of that growth.
While BJ's may be the smallest competitor in the group, the company has one of the largest product selections in the industry, with 7,300 on store shelves. Though many analysts see decreased product offerings as a detractor during a time when slow inventory turnover is costly, BJ's has been leveraging its sizable inventory to lure customers into its growing database.
For members-only clubs such as BJ's, switching costs are relatively high for consumers, and a successful campaign toward swaying consumer dollars into its stores could leave a lasting impact on the company's top-line numbers. From an operational viewpoint, BJ's will lack the size benefits of
for the foreseeable future, but its short-term growth prospects more than warrant giving this stock a look this week.
More Stock Picks
Another retail dynamo this year was
, whose shares have climbed double digits since the beginning of January. Target, which announces its first-quarter earnings on May 18, continues to enjoy the attractive niche that it's worked hard to carve out in the past few years, and with expanded store offerings coming to a store near you in the near future, this stock could see significantly more upside yet to come.
By focusing on the higher-end of the discount store spectrum, Target has managed to build a brand that's both attractive to U.S. consumers and easily attainable -- two key factors that have contributed to the company's continued success in an otherwise difficult environment. With strong retail margins and aggressive product development, I'd expect this retail giant to give league leader Wal-Mart a run for its money this year.
Who Owns Target?
One of the big keys to growth for Target is an increased focus on grocery this year, pulling consumers into its doors for their necessities and getting them to stay around to spend cash on discretionary offerings. While Target's coming to this game later than some of the other players in the field, its cache could give it a higher marginal return.
After spending decades as the blue chip of choice for Wall Street,
International Business Machines
continues to wow investors with its deep understanding of the enterprise tech market. A tide of rising analyst sentiment could spell intraweek gains for this $168 billion computer play.
IBM has made a huge transformation in the last two decades, effectively eschewing its consumer computer products in favor of more profitable and less competitive proprietary mainframe hardware and software. That move has been a good one for shareholders, who had grown weary of seeing consumer taste steer the company's fates. IBM has already been long at work developing cloud-computing solutions -- the next frontier in the world of web-based computer applications. Growth in cloud computing is impressive, if only for the industry's buzzword-worthy moniker.
This stock could find legs this week, as long as the broad market doesn't weigh shares down.
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.