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It might seem like there hasn’t been a safe place to invest this year, but that just isn’t the case. Some companies have actually had an amazing year despite market volatility and global economic uncertainty. If there is one thing that sets these top performing stocks apart from the pack its their explosive profitability regardless of economic headwinds.

We ran a screen for stocks that have strong profitability (EPS 1-Year Growth>20%). From this narrowed pool, we screened out companies that have outperformed the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) for 2011.

The list is ranked from lowest to highest financial leverage.

1. Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Internet Content & Information

Market Cap

$ 52,393M

Beta

1.47

Analyst Sentiment

27/35 – List Buy/ Outperform (Bullish)

The company is the leading Chinese Internet search engine. The firm’s YTD Return is 55.55%. BIDU’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 76.36%. The short interest is N/A.

2. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: [[NFLX]])

Sector

Consumer Cyclical

Industry

Specialty Retail

Market Cap

$ 12,819M

Beta

0.33

Analyst Sentiment

12/31– List Buy/ Outperform (Neutral)

The company offers a library of movies and TV shows via mail and the internet. The firm’s YTD Return is 38.87%. NFLX’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 47.52%. The short interest is 18.10% as of 07/29/2011.

3. Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISRG)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Medical Instruments & Supplies

Market Cap

$ 13,555M

Beta

1.79

Analyst Sentiment

13/19 – List Hold/Neutral (Neutral)

The company offers an advanced surgical system. The firm’s YTD Return is 34.56%. ISRG’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 31.17%. The short interest is 3.40% as of 07/29/2011.

4. CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS)

Sector

Consumer Cyclical

Industry

Broadcasting - TV

Market Cap

$ 16,700M

Beta

2.41

Analyst Sentiment

19/27 – List Hold/ Neutral (Neutral)

The company operates multiple media segments: Radio, publishing, television, and outdoor. The firm’s YTD Return is 31.65%. CBS’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 8.02%. The short interest is 2.30% as of 07/29/2011.

5. The Estee Lauder Cosmetics Inc (NYSE: EL)

Sector

Consumer Cyclical

Industry

Household & Personal Products

Market Cap

$ 19,825M

Beta

1.46

Analyst Sentiment

12/20 – List Hold/ Neutral (Neutral)

The company manufactures and sells a variety of cosmetic & hair care products worldwide. The firm’s YTD Return is 24.97%. EL’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 18.19%. The short interest is 2.30% as of 07/29/2011.

6. ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Semiconductors

Market Cap

$ 11,500M

Beta

0.81

Analyst Sentiment

4/8 – List Buy/Outperform (Neutral)

The company designs and sells a variety of advanced microprocessors and related software. The firm’s YTD Return is 23.97%. ARMH’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 21.15%. The short interest is N/A.

7. Aetna Inc (NYSE: AET)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Health Care Plans

Market Cap

$ 13,905M

Beta

1.25

Analyst Sentiment

12/21 – List Buy / Outperform (Bullish)

The company offers a variety of health insurance products and related services. The firm’s YTD Return is 23.21%. AET’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 16.63%. The short interest is 0.80% as of 07/29/2011.

9. Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA)

Sector

Consumer Cyclical

Industry

Media - Diversified

Market Cap

$ 31,838M

Beta

1.15

Analyst Sentiment

24/29 – List Buy / Outperform (Bullish)

The company operates a Media Network that includes MTV, BET, Paramount Pictures, and more. The firm’s YTD Return is 21.70%. VIA’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 25.86%. The short interest is 12.40% as of 07/29/2011.

10. Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX)

Sector

Consumer Cyclical

Industry

Restaurants

Market Cap

$ 27,874M

Beta

1.26

Analyst Sentiment

15/26 – List Buy / Outperform (Bullish)

Starbucks is the preeminent specialty coffee retailer worldwide. The firm’s YTD Return is 17.49%. SBUX’s EPS 1-Year Growth is 20.70%. The short interest is 1.50% as of 07/29/2011.

We hope this helps investors as they do their own due diligence with strong profitability and outperforming the S&P 500.

Source: 10 Momentum Stock Plays With Explosive Profitability