BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Stocks under $5, such as eDiets.com ( DIET) and Acceler8 Technology ( AXK), have doubled this month, squashing the broader market and surprising investors who haven't heard of the penny-stock companies.Almost 1,000 stocks under $5 on major U.S. exchanges are up only 2.4% in February, in line with the benchmark S&P 500. Last Friday, the S&P 500 had traded at its highest peak since the financial crisis started in September 2008. Protests across the Middle East sparked a rally in crude prices and triggered a pullback in equities.
9. Nexxus Lighting ( NEXS) Company Profile: Nexxus Lighting makes light emitting diode (LED) and fiber optic lighting products primarily in the U.S. While most LED stocks struggled in February, Nexxus Lighting climbed on a Feb. 8 announcement that its Array LED bulbs are included on the Energy Star-qualified LED light bulbs list. Share Price Rise in February: 50% as of Feb. 22 Analyst Ratings: TheStreet Ratings has a "sell" rating on Nexxus Lighting, noting the company's "unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself." Among Wall Street analysts, the only two analysts following Nexxus Lighting have a "buy" rating on the stock, according to Capital IQ.
7. Emcore ( EMKR) Company Profile: Emcore provides compound semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the fiber optics and solar power markets. Shares followed JDS Uniphase higher after the optical products maker on Feb. 3 reported blowout results for the recent quarter and raised guidance. Share Price Rise in February: 65% as of Feb. 22 Analyst Ratings: TheStreet Ratings has a "sell" rating on Emcore, saying that the company's "poor profit margins" have been the most notable of several weaknesses. No Wall Street firms cover Emcore.
5. Repros Therapeutics ( RPRX) Company Profile: Repros Therapeutics is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops oral small molecule drugs for major unmet medical needs that treat male and female reproductive disorders. The stock rallied sharply higher in early February after the company announced an offering of common stock and warrants, which CEO Joseph Podolski said offers the company funding into mid-2012 for clinical trials of its drugs Androxal and Proellex. Share Price Rise in February: 80% as of Feb. 22 Analyst Ratings: TheStreet Ratings doesn't cover Repros Therapeutics. Only one Wall Street firm follows the stock, rating it a "buy" with a $6 price target.
3. Acceler8 Technology ( AXK) Company Profile: Acceler8 Technology develops materials and instrumentation for applications in medical instrumentation, basic research, drug discovery and bio-detection. The stock surged in the absence of any headlines in January, prompting an inquiry from the NYSE for the unusual volume activity. Acceler8 shares again spiked in February after the company said an evaluation agreement with Novartis ( NVS) was extended to June 30. Novartis will pay the company a monthly fee for an exclusive right extension that runs through April 13. Share Price Rise in February: 101% as of Feb. 22 Analyst Ratings: TheStreet Ratings has a "hold" rating on Acceler8's stock, arguing that the company's "robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity" are counterbalanced by the company's "poor" profit margins. No Wall Street firm covers Acceler8 Technology.
1. eDiets.com ( DIET) Company Profile: eDiets.com develops and markets Internet-based diet and fitness programs to consumers and businesses. Shares rallied sharply higher along with Weight Watchers ( WTW), which saw shares surge on better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter. Share Price Rise in February: 103% as of Feb. 22 Analyst Ratings: TheStreet Ratings has a "sell" rating on eDiets.com due to "deteriorating net income, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself." Among Wall Street analysts, one firm covers the stock with a "hold" rating and $1 price target.