BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- We're only four days in, but already, September is off to a strong start. The S&P 500 index closed at a new all-time record high on Friday, edging the big index's year-to-date gains a little closer to the double-digit mark. As of Friday's close, the S&P is up 8.6%.
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And while that's a strong showing, 2014 certainly hasn't been a "dartboard market." In other words, picking stocks at random (by, say, throwing darts at a board of ticker symbols) isn't likely to net you similar returns. As I write, around a third of the S&P is actually down this year.
So yes, stock picking still matters a whole lot in 2014. That's why we're turning to a new set of "Rocket Stock" names 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 264 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500's record run by 79.82%.
Without further ado, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks.
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