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Tickers in this Article: APKT, TGA, WNC, CSCO
2010 was a great year to be an equity investor, as the S&P 500 turned in a double-digit percentage gain for the year, helping investors recoup part of what was lost over the last few years. Many stocks returned spectacularly and outperformed the index in 2010, even tripling or quadrupling in price. (For related reading, see Index Investing: The Standard & Poor's 500 Index) IN PICTURES: How To Make Your First $1 Million

Acme Packet (Nasdaq:APKT) is up nearly 400% in 2010 on the back of strong earnings momentum. The company competes with industry leader Cisco (Nasdaq:CSCO) and is involved in the communication equipment space, selling products to telecom services providers and other businesses to enable voice and data communications. Acme Packet has beaten consensus estimates on earnings for the last four reported quarters, and seen a steady increase in earnings estimates for 2011 over the last 90 days. The company also raised revenue and earnings guidance for the current year after reporting its most recent quarter in October 2010.

Acme Packet has stalled a little at the end of 2010, as some investors seemed concerned about valuation, with the stock trading at 51 times 2011 consensus earnings estimates of $1.03 per share.

TransGlobe Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:TGA) also turned in a spectacular 2010, up approximately 375%. The company is a Canadian exploration and production company active in Egypt and Yemen.

TransGlobe Energy Corporation reported several successful wells on its properties in 2010, and is projecting production growth of 33% in 2011. The company plans 61 wells, both development and exploration, on its properties in 2011.

The performance of TransGlobe Energy Corporation also benefited in 2010 from the investor preference for exploration and production companies leveraged to oil rather than natural gas, as the company is focused almost exclusively on oil.

Wabash National Corp. (NYSE:WNC) was up more than 500% in 2010. The company manufactures and distributes trailers and other equipment used by trucking companies to haul goods across the U.S. and other countries.

The performance of Wabash National is even more noteworthy because the company has reported operating losses in the most recent quarter and during the first nine months of 2010. The company reported an operating loss of $4.2 million in the third quarter of 2010 and $21.2 million during the first nine months of 2010.

Wabash National has seen a rebound in sales of new trailers over the last three quarters and investors might be discounting further increases in sales and a return to profitability in 2011. Analysts expect the company to earn 39 cents per share in 2011.

The Bottom Line
The equity markets rebounded strongly in 2010 as investors seemed encouraged by an economic recovery and the dwindling concern regarding sovereign debt problems across the world. Many stocks did much better than the index and rewarded investors that bet on these names.

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