A 6-pack of growth favorites

From fast food to salons and energy to tech, here are some ideas with great long-growth potential.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 23, 2011 3:15PM
Image: Woman shopping at beauty store (© Jack Hollingsworth/Brand X/Getty Images)By Mike Cintolo, Cabot Market Letter

There is still potential for short-term market drops back toward the August lows, and until that probability is greatly reduced, it would be prudent to continue to hold a large cash reserve.

In the meantime, we continue to track numerous stocks with great growth potential; here, we present the current top prospects. If you do choose to invest in some of these, take care to buy on dips. And if you incur losses, keep them small, so you’ll still be in the game when the next big bull market gets rolling.

Below are our current top ideas:

The story isn't new, per se, but business at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) continues to thrive. And with about 1,100 locations, there remains huge potential for expansion in the years ahead, both in the U.S. and overseas (including its new Asian-themed restaurant concept). 

The stock has had a big run during the last year, but it has been hitting higher lows in recent months and selling pressures have dried up.

MercadoLibre (MELI), considered the eBay (EBAY) or Amazon (AMZN) of Latin America, saw a big acceleration in its business metrics during the third quarter, including a doubling of its payment volume through MercadoPago (which is very similar to eBay's PayPal). 

The stock has shown excellent buying clues and wants to go higher if the market can get its act together.

Nuance Communications (NUAN) is the leader in voice recognition software and is the engine behind the new iPhone’s Siri.  

Growth has been decent, but the potential for Siri-type applications on most smartphones means huge potential for Nuance. The stock staged a monstrous, huge-volume breakout during the October rally, and is now constructing a new base.

Oasis Petroleum (OAS) has some of the best acreage in the Bakken, and the firm is ramping up production at lightning-fast speed.  Earnings are forecast to more than double in 2012, with sales up 90%. 

After nearly doubling off its October low, shares are now tightening up. If energy stocks advance, OAS should do well.

Rackspace (RAX) is benefiting as more and more companies realize it's faster, cheaper and more effective to use a specialized service provider for their information technology and hosting needs. 

The firm's cloud offerings are driving growth, while the "regular" hosting business continues to steadily expand. The stock has built a great looking launching pad; now it just needs a strong market.

Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrances (ULTA) continues to crank out solid results; third-quarter sales and earnings jumped 22% and 68%, respectively.  And management believes 2012 will show square-footage growth of nearly 20%, keeping the company on the growth path. 

ULTA has had a mega-run since September 2010, but it continues to hold up well with excellent volume patterns telling us big investors are nibbling.

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