NEW YORK ( Stockpickr) -- Another day of upward moving stocks has investors excited as we edge closer to the start of 2010.

And with a shortened trading week between the Christmas and New Year trading breaks, vacations and volume decreases could lead to increased volatility for a number of stocks despite the shorter holding time this week.

To make the most of our trading time, it's time to look to the Rocket Stock once again. Our weekly list, which takes a look at beaten-down stocks with near-term growth catalysts and long-term growth potential, took some knocks last week vs. its benchmark as the S&P 500 rallied 2.18% between last Monday and Friday.

Still, with 43.16% outperformance over the S&P over the last 23 weeks, Rocket Stocks have proven their worth in 2009 and should continue to do so into 2010. Last week's Rocket plays include Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG) and Visa ( V).

Now here's a look at this week's Rocket Stock plays.

Agricultural manufacturer Monsanto ( MON) is slated to announce its first-quarter 2010 earnings on Jan. 6, making it one of the first large-cap stocks to set the tone for next year's fundamentals.

The company, which produces seeds, biotech trait products, and herbicides for farmers internationally, has had a mediocre couple of quarters as its share price languished in spite of a developing rally among agricultural stocks. But that's set to change going into 2010, as investors begin to realize that Monsanto's value potential warrants buying this year.

Next week's earnings release could prove to be just the catalyst to make that happen. And this week's lower volume could translate into a pre-earnings pop that's much to the benefit of those who are already long shares.

Battery-maker A123 Systems ( AONE) was the talk of Wall Street back in September 2009 when the battery maker IPO'd to much fanfare.

And while the company still has yet to turn a profit, its potentially game-changing technology has kept investors interested, especially this week.

A123 designs and manufactures next-generation battery systems for a number of applications, most notably passenger vehicles. A significantly increased focus on green technology is expected in 2010, a trend that should help out with A123's top-line growth. Investor anticipation of new regulations and subsidies for electric vehicles could prompt shares to move higher early in the year.

A123 saw an increased search volume late into the weekend, typically a sign that shares will see increased volume in the coming week. And with overall volume expected to be lower this week, the percentage moves could be big enough to justify picking up a stake in this stock.

Korea Electric Power ( KEP) is an $18.3 billion power utility based in Korea.

It may come as some surprise then, that the company's most exciting news this week actually comes from the Middle East. On Sunday, the United Arab Emirates announced a $40 billion deal it had reached with KEP to build four nuclear reactors for power generation. The deal had search volume up significantly for KEP and pushed shares up significantly in Monday's premarket.

The deal presents an enormous opportunity for the Korean company, but not typically much for shorter-term Rocket Stock investors. Luckily, this week's shortened timeframe should let us ride this issue's gains without keeping open exposure to the deal.

For more stocks that made this week's cut, including Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX) and Marvell ( MRVL), check out the Rocket Stocks portfolio at Stockpickr.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
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.