10 Best Revenue Growth Stocks for 2012

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Analysts often use a company's current and projected growth rate as a metric to determine the stock's future price. With a potential for robust revenue gains in 2012 or the upcoming quarters, these stocks should be on every investor's radar. In addition, some of these have estimated strong bottom line gains.

Based on average estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg, these 10 stocks have potential upsides ranging from 8% to 74%, with average buy and average hold guidance of 70% and 27%, respectively.

10. Ecolab ( ECL) develops and markets products and services for the hospitality, food service, health care and industrial markets. It provides cleaning and sanitizing products and programs, as well as pest elimination, maintenance and repair services.

For the third quarter of fiscal year 2011, ECL reported revenue of $1.7 billion, up 11%. Net income attributable to shareholders rose 13% to $177 million and adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 14% to 75 cents. International sales increased 18% and operating income improved by 23%.

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The company expects adjusted earnings per share for fiscal 2011, excluding the impact of the Nalco merger, to be in the range of $2.53 to $2.55, growing 13% to 14% from 2010.

Earlier this month, ECL acquired Esoform, an independent Italian health care manufacturer focused on infection prevention and personal care.

The company has increased its quarterly cash dividend by 14% to 20 cents per common share, payable Jan. 17, 2012.

Of the 18 analysts covering the stock, 67% recommend buying and 28% suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $61.92, about 8.8% higher than the current price, a Bloomberg consensus shows.

9. Google ( GOOG) is a global technology leader focused on improving the way people connect with information. It generates revenue through online advertising, focusing on areas such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, and enterprise.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2011, Google recorded revenue of $9.72 billion, an increase of 33% compared to the same quarter previous year. Google-owned sites generated revenue of $6.74 billion, up 39% where as Google Network revenue increased 18%.

Google and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts have partnered to acquire a portfolio of solar PV projects in California from Recurrent Energy.

European Union regulators have suspended a deadline falling January 2012 for a decision on Google bid to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings, pending more information on the deal.

Of the 42 analysts covering the stock, 90% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $730.3, or 15.3% above the current price, according a Bloomberg consensus.

8. Western Digital ( WDC) makes hard drives for worldwide use in computer systems, subsystems or consumer electronics.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2012, WDC recorded revenue of $2.7 billion, an increase of 12% from the prior-year period. Gross margin improved 20.1%, vs. 18.2% in the same quarter preceding year. Operating income for the quarter stood at $259 million, up 22.75%. Hard drive unit shipments increased 14% to 57.8 million year-over-year.

Revenue guidance for the second quarter of 2012 is $1.8 billion. Floods in Thailand hit WDC's production badly, but it is expected to recover the market share lost to smaller rival Seagate.

Western Digital's proposed acquisition of Hitachi's storage business is awaiting approval from Beijing.

Of the 21 analysts covering the stock, 62% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $40.56, or 26.2% above the current price, according a Bloomberg consensus.

7. priceline.com ( PCLN) is a leader in global online hotel reservations, with over 200,000 participating hotels worldwide. It operates under four primary brands -- Booking.com, priceline.com, Agoda.com and TravelJigsaw, and several other ancillary brands. It provides online travel services in over 140 countries in Europe, North America, South America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

For the third quarter of 2011, the company reported revenue of $1.5 billion, up 45% from a year ago. The company's international operations contributed $953 million, increasing 79% from the earlier-year period. Gross profit for the quarter stood at $1.1 billion, growing 65% from the prior year, while operating income improved 83% to $616.4 million.

For the fourth quarter 2011, PCLN expects revenue to grow between 27% and 32% and gross profit to increase by 42% to 47% year over year.

Of the 24 analysts covering the stock, 79% recommend a buy and 17% suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $619.57, about 28.6% higher than the current price, a Bloomberg consensus shows.

6. Pioneer Natural Resources ( PXD) is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with existing operations in the U.S. and South Africa. The company explores, develops and produces oil and gas reserves with production operations located domestically in Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Alaska, and internationally in South Africa.

For the third quarter of fiscal year 2011, PXD reported earnings of $351.5 million ($2.95 per diluted share), up by 213% as compared to $112.0 million (94 cents per diluted share) for the third quarter of 2010. Net operating cash increased 123% to $465.6 million.

The company expects fourth quarter 2011 production to average at 136,000 to 141,000 barrel oil equivalent per day.

In November, PXD announced to sell 5,500,000 shares of its common stock in an underwritten public offering.

Of the 30 analysts covering the stock, 70% recommend buying and 27% suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $114.71, about 29.6% higher than the current price, a Bloomberg consensus shows.

5. Cognizant Technology Solutions ( CTSH) is a global business provider of information technology.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2011, Cognizant recorded revenue of $1.601 billion, up 31.6% from the third quarter of 2010. Net income rose 11.48% to $227.1 million, or $0.73 per diluted share.

The company expects fourth quarter 2011 revenue of $1.66 billion and forecasts diluted earnings per share at 76 cents compared to revenue of $1.31 billion and EPS of 66 cents for the same period 2010.

For fiscal 2011, CTSH anticipates revenue to be at least $6.11 billion, up 33% compared to 2010.

Recently, Telefonica UK appointed Cognizant as a strategic partner to develop and manage its online applications that are critical to improving sales and enhancing customer service.

Of the 29 analysts covering the stock, 79% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $83.76, or 29.7% above the current price, according a Bloomberg consensus.

4. Amazon.com ( AMZN) is a Fortune 500 online retailer. In addition, the company generates revenue through other marketing and promotional services such as online advertising and co-branded credit card agreements.

For third quarter 2011, AMZN reported net sales of $10.88 billion, up 44% from the same quarter last year. Operating cash flow increased 19% to $3.11 billion for the trailing 12 months, compared with $2.62 billion for the trailing 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2010.

Amazon estimates net sales for the fourth quarter 2011 in the range of $16.45 billion to $18.65 billion, or to grow between 27% and 44% from the same quarter prior year.

Amazon has announced plans to open two fulfillment centers in Virginia, investing a total $135 million. In addition, the company has deployed its global cloud-computing platform in its new South America (Sao Paulo) region.

Of the 39 analysts covering the stock, 59% recommend a buy and 38% suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $237.21, or 33.8% above the current price, according a Bloomberg consensus.

3. Noble ( NE) is an offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. Operating through subsidiaries, the company contracts drilling services with its fleet of 79 offshore drilling units located worldwide, including the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Operating income for the third quarter of 2011 stood at $737.9 million, up 20.45% from the same period last year. Contract drilling services revenue totaled $704.9 million in the quarter, up 20.5%. The company reported earnings of 53 cents per diluted share, compared to 34 cents for the same period last year.

For 2012, the company anticipates the contract drilling services backlog to stands at $2,615 million. Noble expects Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras to hire more rigs in 2012, after picking up about 10 this year.

S&P Capital IQ reiterated its buy rating on Noble.

Of the 41 analysts covering the stock, 78% recommend a buy and 20% suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $44.60, or 40.9% higher than the current price, according to a Bloomberg survey.

2. Salesforce.com ( CRM) is a business provider of customer relationship management technology.

For the third quarter 2012, the company reported revenue of $584 million, up 36% on a year-over-year. Subscription and support revenues were $549 million, an increase of 36% year-over-year. Professional services and other revenue also increased by 34%. Cash from operations for the quarter was $129 million, up 74% year-over-year.

The company's revenue guidance for full fiscal year 2012 is in the range of $2.25 billion to $2.26 billion. For fiscal 2013, CRM estimates revenue between $2.88 billion and $2.92 billion.

Earlier this month, the company entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Rypple, a cloud-based social performance management company. In November, CRM signed an agreement to acquire Model Metrics, a mobile and social cloud consulting services company.

Of the 43 analysts covering the stock, 74% recommend a buy and 16% rate a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $153.83, about 56.9% higher than the current price, according to a Bloomberg consensus.

1. Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR) is a supplier and exporter of metallurgical coal used in steel making and a major supplier of thermal coal to electric utilities and manufacturing industries in the U.S. The company operates about 150 mines and 35 coal preparation facilities in the regions of Northern and Central Appalachia and the Powder River Basin.

For 2011 third quarter, ANR reported revenue of $2.3 billion, up 130% from $1 billion in the third quarter of 2010, and coal revenue was $2.0 billion compared to 900 million. Net income for the quarter was $66.4 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, vs. net income of $31.9 million, or 27 cents per diluted share, during the same quarter 2010.

Global demand for metallurgical coal remains robust, driven primarily by demand in Asia. China's September coal imports rose 25% year-over-year to a record 19 million metric tons. Looking ahead, China's net thermal coal imports for full year 2011 are pegged at 120 million metric tons. With greater than 25 million tons of export terminal capacity annually, Alpha is the clear leader among U.S. coal producers and plans to leverage this competitive advantage to benefit from a strengthening seaborne thermal coal market.

For fiscal 2012, Alpha has increased its Eastern metallurgical coal shipment guidance to a range of 23.5 million to 26.5 million tons from the previous view of 23 million to 26 million tons.

Of the 27 analysts covering the stock, 70% recommend buying and the remaining suggest a hold. The stock' average 12-month price target is $36.17, about 74.5% higher than the current price, a Bloomberg consensus shows.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Best Revenue Growth Stocks for 2012 portfolio on Stockpickr.