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The following is a list of high growth stocks, as defined by past sales growth and projected EPS growth. All of these stocks have seen significant institutional inflows over the last three months.

To create the list we started with a universe of about 120 stocks with the following characteristics:

  • Market cap > $300M
  • Sales growth over last 5 years > 20%
  • Projected EPS growth over next five years > 20%

We then looked at institutional flows and ranked these stocks according to the highest percentage increase in institutional ownership over the past three months.

We last wrote about this screen on December 3, 2010. On that day, the screen produced 24 companies (excluding Isilon Systems (ISLN), which has been acquired by EMC. Since then, 16 out of 24 companies mentioned in that article have outperformed the S&P 500 index (a success rate of 66.67%). The screen averaged a return of 5.91% vs. an index return of 3.82%.

Short float, past sales data and EPS growth projections sourced from Finviz. Institutional trading data sourced from Reuters.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in market cap for the top six names mentioned below. Note: The numbers on top of items represent the forward P/E ratio, if available.

The list has been sorted by the change in institutional ownership over the last three months.

1. KIT digital, Inc. (OTC:KITD):
Entertainment Industry. Market cap of $389.26M. Sales have grown by 64.4% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 31.13% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 19,537,510 vs. 17,392,233 shares held three months ago (+12.33% change). Short float at 22.98%, which implies a short ratio of 16.47 days. The stock has gained 45.83% over the last year.

2. CNinsure Inc. (NASDAQ:CISG): Insurance Brokers Industry. Market cap of $842.15M. Sales have grown by 102.44% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 27.45% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 29,758,946 vs. 26,664,483 shares held three months ago (+11.61% change). Short float at 12.62%, which implies a short ratio of 5.14 days. The stock has lost 11.72% over the last year.

3. Harbin Electric, Inc. (NASDAQ:HRBN):
Industrial Electrical Equipment Industry. Market cap of $545.94M. Sales have grown by 115.00% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 23.33% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 16,239,513 vs. 14,764,579 shares held three months ago (+9.99% change). Short float at 25.58%, which implies a short ratio of 6.73 days. The stock has lost 27.72% over the last year.

4. NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA): Medical Instruments & Supplies Industry. Market cap of $1.04B. Sales have grown by 56.79% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 26.9% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 57,431,847 vs. 52,294,369 shares held three months ago (+9.82% change). Short float at 17.49%, which implies a short ratio of 5.6 days. The stock has lost 14.38% over the last year.

5. Atlas Pipeline Holdings LP (AHD):
Gas Utilities Industry. Market cap of $375.06M. Sales have grown by 58.17% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 44.00% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 3,552,046 vs. 3,286,846 shares held three months ago (+8.07% change). Short float at 10.72%, which implies a short ratio of 5.84 days. The stock has gained 103.61% over the last year.

6. Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:VRNT):
Business Software & Services Industry. Market cap of $1.29B. Sales have grown by 23.01% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 21.67% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 14,592,887 vs. 13,519,987 shares held three months ago (+7.94% change). Short float at 1.1%, which implies a short ratio of 1.63 days. The stock has gained 85.26% over the last year.

7. Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:UPL):
Independent Oil & Gas Industry. Market cap of $7.11B. Sales have grown by 20.81% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 23.08% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 134,349,369 vs. 126,412,468 shares held three months ago (+6.28% change). Short float at 8.6%, which implies a short ratio of 9.14 days. The stock has lost 12.21% over the last year.

8. Theravance Inc. (NASDAQ:THRX): Biotechnology Industry. Market cap of $1.82B. Sales have grown by 22.21% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 34.7% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 65,972,662 vs. 63,064,671 shares held three months ago (+4.61% change). Short float at 11.67%, which implies a short ratio of 16.85 days. The stock has gained 82.43% over the last year.

9. Masimo Corporation (NASDAQ:MASI): Medical Appliances & Equipment Industry. Market cap of $1.66B. Sales have grown by 38.16% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 21.83% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 55,350,431 vs. 53,124,536 shares held three months ago (+4.19% change). Short float at 12.4%, which implies a short ratio of 13.5 days. The stock has lost 3.95% over the last year.

10. VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS): Biotechnology Industry. Market cap of $859.2M. Sales have grown by 20.62% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 53.5% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 50,353,332 vs. 48,409,561 shares held three months ago (+4.02% change). Short float at 17.63%, which implies a short ratio of 4.7 days. The stock has gained 0.38% over the last year.

11. Coinstar Inc. (CSTR): Business Equipment Industry. Market cap of $1.79B. Sales have grown by 30.1% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 24.61% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 42,608,654 vs. 41,055,911 shares held three months ago (+3.78% change). Short float at 24.11%, which implies a short ratio of 5.11 days. The stock has gained 96.29% over the last year.

12. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG): Restaurants Industry. Market cap of $6.92B. Sales have grown by 26.39% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 26.87% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 31,220,276 vs. 30,202,528 shares held three months ago (+3.37% change). Short float at 9.18%, which implies a short ratio of 2.77 days. The stock has gained 131.14% over the last year.

13. Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE:TSL): Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $1.79B. Sales have grown by 359.18% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 22.15% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 53,357,706 vs. 51,714,467 shares held three months ago (+3.18% change). Short float at 10.17%, which implies a short ratio of 2 days. The stock has lost 16.74% over the last year.

14. Entropic Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENTR):
Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $1.14B. Sales have grown by 217.94% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 20.66% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 86,281,469 vs. 83,752,319 shares held three months ago (+3.02% change). Short float at 24.25%, which implies a short ratio of 6.59 days. The stock has gained 239.5% over the last year.

15. ChinaCast Education Corporation (OTCPK:CAST):
Education & Training Services Industry. Market cap of $367.38M. Sales have grown by 33.88% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 30.00% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 27,056,861 vs. 26,289,137 shares held three months ago (+2.92% change). Short float at 2.05%, which implies a short ratio of 3.13 days. The stock has gained 0.82% over the last year.

16. Medidata Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDSO): Healthcare Information Services Industry. Market cap of $616.92M. Sales have grown by 79.52% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 25.00% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 17,571,729 vs. 17,232,117 shares held three months ago (+1.97% change). Short float at 4.08%, which implies a short ratio of 4.95 days. The stock has gained 62.14% over the last year.

17. UTi Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ:UTIW):
Air Delivery & Freight Services Industry. Market cap of $2.2B. Sales have grown by 35.75% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 21.88% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 96,262,148 vs. 94,549,002 shares held three months ago (+1.81% change). Short float at 1.32%, which implies a short ratio of 2.67 days. The stock has gained 43.07% over the last year.

18. Weatherford International Ltd. (NYSE:WFT):
Oil & Gas Equipment & Services Industry. Market cap of $16.37B. Sales have grown by 23.03% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 27.3% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 565,787,363 vs. 556,216,292 shares held three months ago (+1.72% change). Short float at 3.57%, which implies a short ratio of 1.9 days. The stock has gained 11.57% over the last year.

19. Novatel Wireless Inc. (NVTL):
Diversified Communication Services Industry. Market cap of $318.3M. Sales have grown by 26.61% over the last five years, with EPS growth projected at 22.5% over the next five years. Institutional investors currently own 28,868,646 vs. 28,435,883 shares held three months ago (+1.52% change). Short float at 17.92%, which implies a short ratio of 7.18 days. The stock has gained 19.48% over the last year.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 19 High Growth Stocks Being Snapped Up by Institutional Investors