10 Remarkable Stocks

 | Oct 29, 2013 | 4:12 PM EDT
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Only a few times in my career have I seen old-line companies -- not just new, technology and biotech companies, but also ancient workhorse stocks and resources companies -- put on major moves based on little information or few catalysts. And once in motion, they seemed unable to quit.

Let me give you 10 remarkable stories -- all that made sense, all that got "re-rated" as different stories without much news and with tremendous élan. I am doing it in alphabetical order so as not to favor any company, and I'm going to tell you what's transformed the company at last in the eyes of the buyers.

In June, Best Buy (BBY) was trading at $26, a remarkable run from the beginning of January when it traded at $11. Most people simply figured the stock had to collapse from exhaustion. Things couldn't be that good, could they? I mean, it's retail and the consumer's confidence had been shot by multiple attacks from Washington. We all know that income growth has been stagnant and employment, while creeping higher, isn't moving fast enough to maintain Best Buy's numbers let alone companies that just sell necessities, and there's nothing necessary about what BBY sells.

Wrong! Best Buy is putting up awesome numbers. It is no longer the showroom for Amazon (AMZN). In fact, Best Buy is saying that Amazon is its showroom because it has cut prices to the point that it is cheaper than Amazon for many goods, and the playing field is even now that you have to pay sales tax in many states for what you buy from Amazon. Is it any wonder then, why Best Buy has gone to $42 from $26 in June? You know what? It might go further still given what we have seen in a rekindled love affair with hard goods.

How about Boeing (BA)? Understand that Boeing's been acting fabulously for some time and is up an astounding 71% for the year. Mind you, this is a huge stock. But what's most impressive is its run to $129 from $101 on July 2. What happened? I think the whole time we were watching the Dreamliner's problems, we became convinced that it was only a matter of time before the plane was put out of service. We had multiple instances of issues and each time the stock took a hit it was all feeling pretty darned cumulative. But on that fateful July day an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 caught fire and the short-sellers flew in to bury the plane and the company. Turns out the fire wasn't caused by a Boeing part at all. The shorts were trapped and once Boeing was vindicated, the stock never looked back. When the company reported a terrific quarter and indicated many more ahead, the gallop began and it doesn't feel like it's ending any time soon.

Bristol-Myers (BMY) stood at $41 in September when we began to hear about very successful trials of cancer drugs that it had been working on. The stock had been under a cloud because of a patent expiration of a key product, but now that a new, higher-growth drug franchise was on hand, the stock took off. Monday, two firms recommended it on its accelerating growth and now this huge-capitalization company has added five huge points, going to $53 from $48.

In July, Chipotle (CMG) stood at $376 and people were concerned that the stock was vulnerable to a quick decline like the one we saw just a year ago. Nope, the company's momentum has returned, growth has re-accelerated and the stock has now vaulted to $525, an amazing move.

In July, Cramer-favorite Core Labs (CLB) was hanging out at $150 and it seemed to be doing nothing. In fact, the stock had been basically unchanged for a full year. But word began percolating of all these new big finds in parts of the Bakken, the Utica, the Permian and the Niobrara, fueled by fabulous news coming from the likes of Pioneer Natural (PXD), Noble (NBL) and Anadarko (APC). The stock has run all the way to $190. The breakout is breathtaking and the last quarter was a marvel.

Federal Express (FDX) is a huge transport and a major, established company that's been all about gross-domestic-product growth here and abroad. That's why so many people have stayed away from the darned thing. After a nice move from the $80s, FedEx was marking time around $110 in early October. Then a remarkable quarter showed that the massive restructuring FedEx announced last year was paying off and the company's stock jumped almost in a straight line to $132. Of course, you could say that some of this gain is a return to worldwide growth, but most people don't even believe there is such a return; it's more that the company has reinvented itself in a cheaper and leaner form.

The only word I can use to describe the run in GameStop (GME) is "insane." Here's a stock that traded at $31 at the end of May. The darned thing's at $55 and it is still accumulating upgrades -- still! With new hardware coming from Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT), was this so hard to predict? With "Grand Theft Auto" doing a billion dollars in sales, should we really have been that shocked? This one, like others I mention here, was getable. You just needed to know the landscape and the players, like the hard-charging CEO Julian Raines, who simply refused to quit when others were questioning the company's very raison d'être. I think the raison d'être for GameStop is simple: to make you money.

How does Kimberly-Clark (KMB) go to $107 from $93 in a single month? First, interest rates bottom, making its bountiful dividend worth more. Then its growth accelerates ever so slightly, allowing analysts to pronounce it as one of the fastest-growing packaged-goods stocks. Fantastic move.

We know gasoline has gone down this year, now at its lowest point for 2013. We know oil has come down from its high. So what's with Schlumberger (SLB) going to $93 from $71 during the big price decline? Pretty simple: Given the new technologies, countries and companies can find oil more cheaply than was the case a few years ago, and that means drilling is happening all over the globe. So the drillers need servicing -- and that's Schlumberger. This breakout is astounding for a company that had been in a trading range seemingly forever. Then when we got that amazing quarter earlier this month, the company verified the move and made you feel darned bullish about the future.

How can an appliance stock -- that's right, an appliance stock -- go to $148 from $112 in just a couple of months' time? Easy, if it is Whirlpool (WHR) and sales didn't go down even when interest rates made a tremendous percentage move higher. That's right, Whirlpool somehow became transformed from being a play entirely on home sales to one where it took share at the same time as an upgrade cycle kicked in. Suddenly, Whirlpool's a mix between Celgene (CELG) and Gilead (GILD)!

None of these stocks were ugly ducklings going into the summer. Most had made good moves. It's just that these last rallies are unlike anything we've seen in ages, a wholesale reordering. And once an object's in motion, it sure tends to stay in motion until it hits an immovable object. Right now, I don't see one for any of these stocks. Just a remarkable time.

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