5 Rocket Stocks That Could Rally

BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Stocks are launching the New Year right, rallying 1.6% in the first four trading days of 2012. Now, with the second trading week of January under way, investors are going to be looking for a repeat performance.

With earnings season officially kicking off today at Alcoa's (AA) after-the-bell earnings call, that's a distinct possibility. Earnings season is the block of time each quarter when the majority of publicly traded companies announce their numbers to Wall Street. It's an important catalyst for share prices -- after all, an unexpected improvement in earnings can dramatically change analysts' valuation models for shares.

>>5 Large-Cap Stocks That Could Pop in 2012

Of course, as well as the broad market did last week, our list of Rocket Stock names did one better. So far, our Rocket Stocks are up an average of 2.79% on the year. This week, we'll ride the earnings season trend to find five more stocks that could rally.

For the uninitiated, "Rocket Stocks" are our list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. To find them, I run a weekly quantitative screen that seeks out stocks with a combination of analyst upgrades and positive earnings surprises to identify rising analyst expectations, a bullish signal for stocks in any market. After all, where analysts' expectations are increasing, institutional cash often follows.

In the last 135 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500 by 83.8%. With that, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks.

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