BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks are on pace to double last year's gains, with the S&P 500 Index up 3.8% so far in 2011. However, unrest in the Middle East has caused a correction. With economic growth expected to accelerate in the first quarter, stocks are still attractive. However, it's best to wait for the pullback to peter out before buying more. The following 10 stocks are among the best performers in the U.S. so far in 2011, ordered by return.

10. Tesoro ( TSO) is an oil and gas refiner. Its stock has risen 27% so far in 2011. It has more than doubled in the past 12 months.

Tesoro swung to a modest fourth-quarter profit of $3 million, or two cents a share, from a loss of $179 million, or $1.30, a year earlier. Its revenue grew 20%. The operating margin climbed from negative territory to 0.3%. Tesoro's stock is still cheap, selling for a forward earnings multiple of 11, a book value multiple of 1.1 and a sales multiple of 0.2, 40%, 75% and 94% discounts to oil and gas industry averages.

12-Month Sales Growth: 23%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 79%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 77%


9. Big Lots ( BIG) is a closeout retailer, selling food, health and beauty and furniture products. Its stock has rallied 30% in 2011, in part due to takeover rumors.

Management is exploring a sale, possibly to private equity investors. Big Lots' fiscal third-quarter net income dropped 42% and earnings per share fell 38%, cushioned by a smaller float. Revenue inched up 2%. The operating margin contracted from 3.3% to 2.6%. Big Lots' stock sells for a trailing P/E of 15 and a forward P/E of 13, 27% and 33% peer discounts. It's expensive based on book value and cash flow.

12-Month Sales Growth: 5.7%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 25%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 24%

8. Level 3 ( LVLT) is an alternative telecom-carrier. Its stock has advanced 39% in 2011.

Level 3's fourth-quarter net loss decreased 71% to $52 million, or three cents a share, as revenue declined marginally to $921 million. The operating margin rose from negative 4.6% to negative 0.4% during the latest quarter. Level 3 is running a shareholders' deficit of $157 million. Its stock sells for a sales multiple of 0.6 and a cash flow multiple of 6.7, sizable discounts to peer averages. The stock receives "buy" ratings from just 8% of analysts.

12-Month Sales Growth: -3.0%
12-Month Net Income Growth: -0.6%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 0.0%


7. HealthSpring ( HS) is a managed health-care company. Its stock has appreciated 40% in 2011.

HealthSpring's fourth-quarter net income soared 45% to $51 million, or 88 cents a share. Revenue grew 30% to $882 million. The operating margin ascended from 10% to 11%. HealthSpring's stock trades at a trailing earnings multiple of 11, a forward earnings multiple of 8.9, a book value multiple of 1.8 and a cash flow multiple of 9.5, 36%, 41%, 43% and 16% discounts to industry averages. Its PEG ratio of 0.9 indicates a 10% discount, based on estimated long-run growth.

12-Month Sales Growth: 18%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 45%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 41%

6. Aruba Networks ( ARUN) sells communications equipment, which connects users to corporate technology resources through enterprise networks. Its stock has returned 41% so far in 2011.

Aruba's fiscal second-quarter loss decreased 36% to $2.8 million, or three cents a share. Revenue climbed 50% to $94 million. The operating margin improved from negative 6.3% to negative 2.8%. Aruba's stock is exorbitant, costing 41-times forward earnings, 13-times book value, 9.1-times sales and 61-times cash flow. Still, 47% of researchers rank the stock "buy."

12-Month Sales Growth: 47%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 86%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 84%


5. Manitowoc ( MTW) makes cranes and foodservice equipment. Its stock has soared 45% in 2011.

Manitowoc's fourth-quarter net loss more than doubled to $64 million, or 41 cents a share, from $24 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier. Revenue declined 1% to $831 million. The operating margin widened from 4.4% to 6.4%. Manitowoc's stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 13, a sales multiple of 0.8 and a cash flow multiple of 12, 22%, 49% and 24% discounts to industrial machinery industry averages.

12-Month Sales Growth: -17%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 90%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 90%

4. IPG Photonics ( IPGP) makes fiber lasers and amplifiers, used by materials processing, telecom and medical companies. Its stock has surged 62% in 2011 and has more than tripled in 12 months.

IPG's scheduled to release fourth-quarter results today. Its third-quarter profit more than quintupled to $13 million, or 28 cents a share, as revenue jumped 74% to $80 million. The operating margin rose from 7.9% to 28%. IPG's stock is pricey, selling for 28-times forward earnings, 8.1-times book value, 9.2-times sales and 51-times cash flow, peer premiums.

12-Month Sales Growth: 33%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 165%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 156%


3. Weight Watchers ( WTW) provides weight-management services worldwide. Its stock has soared 66% in 2011 and has doubled in 12 months.

Fourth-quarter net income more than doubled to $49 million, or 66 cents a share, as revenue gained 15% to $357 million. The operating margin narrowed from 28% to 27%. The stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 15, a 13% peer discount. But, it's expensive based on sales. The company is running a shareholders' deficit. It receives "buy" calls from 29% of analysts.

12-Month Sales Growth: 3.8%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 9.5%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 12%

2. JDS Uniphase ( JDSU) sells communications test and measurement solutions and optical products to telecom, cable and tech companies. Its stock is up 67% in 2011. It has doubled in 12 months.

JDS Uniphase swung to a fiscal second-quarter profit of $24 million, or 10 cents a share, from a loss of $20 million, or nine cents, a year earlier. Revenue grew 38% to $474 million. The operating margin rose from negative territory to 7.9%. JDS is pricey, costing 21-times forward earnings, 5.5-times book value and 33-times cash flow, significant premiums to peers.

12-Month Sales Growth: 34%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 106%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 106%


1. Fannie Mae ( FNMA) is a government-sponsored enterprise, providing liquidity in the mortgage market and improving housing affordability. The U.S. government owns roughly 79% of its equity.

Fannie Mae's third-quarter net loss decreased 93% to $1.3 billion, or 61 cents a share, from nearly $19 billion, or $3.47, a year earlier. The operating margin turned positive. Fannie Mae's stock trades at a significant discount to financial peers, but remains reliant on the support of the federal government. Still, the company's fundamentals are clearly improving.

12-Month Sales Growth: 230%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 64%
12-Month Earnings Per Share Growth: 57%

-- Written by Jake Lynch in Boston.

>To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Best-Performing Stocks of the Year portfolio on Stockpickr.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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