Rules of the Game: The Roaring Gainers of 2012, Part II

 | Dec 20, 2012 | 12:30 PM EST  | Comments
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Earlier this week I wrote about Regneron (REGN), one of the big-cap price leaders in 2012. As I mentioned previously, most of the year's biggest movers are categorized as small- or mid-caps. That's no big surprise, as smaller stocks tend to sport more explosive price growth than do larger counterparts.

In this installment, I'll focus on some more large-cap names that have shown off some nice moves in 2012. To reiterate my screening criteria: I included stocks that are priced at $15 or higher and trade at least 500,000 shares per day, and which have advanced 75% or more in 2012.

One stock I've written about repeatedly this year, Michael Kors (KORS), has made the cut. So far this year, we've seen a 96% advance in shares of this upscale apparel-and-accessories retailer. The stock is right on that line between mid-cap and large-cap, with a market capitalization of $10.67 billion.

Michael Kors is showing some good technical action now, having closed Wednesday at $53.44, 1.4% above its 50-day average.

Another stock on the verge of that mid-to-large-cap transition is Catamaran (CTRX), a pharmacy-benefits-management firm with a market cap of $10.17 billion. The stock rose 75.57% this year, closing Wednesday at $49.58, 1.4% above its 50-day line.

Catamaran has been trading in a tight range since early November. That kind of technical action is often a precursor to further gains. It can signal that institutional owners are biding their time, holding shares until the next catalyst for a fresh run-up.

One stock that has gotten a boost this week also made my scan. Data-storage outfit Seagate Technology (STX) is up 85% year to date. This is another smaller large-cap, perched at a market cap of $11.45 billion. The stock, along with fellow disk-drive maker Western Digital (WDC), was upgraded to Buy from Hold at research shop Craig-Hallum earlier this week.

Seagate gapped higher Wednesday, closing at $30.32, 8.8% above its 50-day moving average. It is potentially in a technical buy zone now, hovering above key moving averages and below its 52-week high of $35.71 from Aug. 17.

Another 2012 mover from the lower end of large-cap land is LinkedIn (LNKD). The social-media company went public at $45 in May 2011 and closed Wednesday at $114.78, thus notching a year-to-date gain of 82%.

LinkedIn has a market cap of $12.33 billion. It has excellent liquidity, trading more than 2 million shares per day on average. This is also a volatile stock, carrying a beta of 1.18 -- a glance at the chart shows wide intraweek price swings. That's undoubtedly made it a difficult stock to hold for many individual traders and investors.

Unlike other social-media companies, the path to monetization has been pretty clear for LinkedIn all along. The company has various membership tiers, and it charges subscription fees for these. Analysts see earnings of $0.72 per share this year, more than double 2011 EPS of $0.35. In 2012, income is expected to come in at $1.28 per share, which would be a gain of 78%.

LinkedIn is another stock whose technical potential looks good now: It's hovering above its short-term moving averages, but below its September high of $125.50.

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