10. Ancestry.com ( ACOM)

Company profile: Ancestry.com is a provider of Web-based services to aid family history research.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 24% this year, but lost an equal amount in 2011. The company has a market value of $1.3 billion. Manulife Asset Management ( MFC) owned 8% of its shares at year-end.

9. Agilent Technologies ( A)

Company profile: Agilent, with a market value of $15 billion, is the world's largest test and measurement company, both in terms of size and product offerings, led by its electronic measurement segment which makes up half of sales.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 25% this year and have a three-year annualized return of 33%. On Tuesday, it reported that fiscal first-quarter profit grew 19% as sales rose in its life science and chemical analysis divisions, but the company's stock dropped after it narrowed its fiscal-year profit and sales forecasts.

S&P has a "buy" recommendation on its shares and gives the company's financial health a four-star rating out of a possible five. The rating firm's survey of analysts found 10 "buy" ratings, five "buy/holds," and one "hold."

8. Qlik Technologies ( QLIK)

Company profile: Qlik Technologies makes QlikView software that helps business users make better and faster business decisions using analytics and search functionality with office productivity tools.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 26% this year and the company has a market value of $2.5 billion, making it a small-cap stock. Accel Europe Associates owns 15% of its shares and Fidelity 13%. Jefferies upgraded its shares to "buy" from "hold" one month ago, and said it expects that spending "on next generation analytics is high priority (and) QLIK is one of best pure-plays on that theme for 2012."

Qlik Technologies' shares tumbled 10% Friday morning the day after it forecast an adjusted loss for the first quarter 2012 and projected revenues below analysts' estimates. But the company reported a strong fourth quarter of last year as earnings jumped 47% year-over-year. The company's fourth-quarter profit was 18 cents per share, up from 12 cents per share a year ago.

7. Rackspace ( RAX)

Company profile: Rackspace, with a $7 billion market value, is a big player in the fast-growing field of cloud computing and managed hosting, the latter generating more than 80% of its revenue now, but cloud computing is moving up rapidly.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 26% this year and have a three-year annualized return of 127%. They gained 289% in 2009. Fidelity owned 12.7% of its shares at the end of 2011, more than double that of the next largest shareholder. In a survey of analysts, S&P found six "buy" ratings, five "buy/holds," eight "holds," and one "weak hold."

After the market closed Monday, Rackspace reported earnings of 18 cents per share, for the last three months of 2011, two cents better than analysts' consensus estimate. Revenue rose 32% to $283 million. Shares jumped on the news and topped out at $56.94 for an intra-day high early this week. They're now trading at $53.05.

6. II-VI ( IIVI)

Company profile: II-VI, pronounced "Two-Six," develops and sells electro-optical components for use in industrial, military, and radiation detection applications. It has a $1.5 billion market value, making it a small-cap stock.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 27% this year and have a three-year annualized return of 32%. Analysts give its shares two "buy" ratings, one "buy/hold," and two "holds," according to S&P. Columbia Wanger Asset Management owned 20% of its shares at year end, double that of the next largest shareholder.

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