BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Traders are gearing up for the start of another shortened trading week this morning, hoping to eke out every last bit of gains before the calendar flips over to 2014.
>>5 'Dogs of the Dow' to Buy in 2014
Across the Pacific, Japanese equity markets have already ended trading for 2013, taking home a 57% year-to-date gain -- the biggest one-year return for the country's Nikkei 225 Index in four decades. It's enough to make the S&P 500's 29% run this year look downright calm. Even though U.S. stocks aren't on track for quite as historic a close for 2013, we're still set to end the year on a very high note.
And that bodes well for 2014 as well. Looking back at every year since 1975 when the S&P earned greater than 20% gains, the year that followed averaged gains of 12.8%. So while I doubt the New Year will be able to keep up the breakneck pace in stocks, history suggests that it'll be a strong year for equities all the same.
>>5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying
That's why we're turning to a new set of Rocket Stocks worth buying this week.
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 229 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500 by 84.7%.Without further ado, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks.
>>5 Dividend Stocks Ready to Pay You More in 2014