There's an elite club on Wall Street investors probably would love to be a part of: the double club.
Just 10 stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 have doubled in price this year, a solid run as the S&P 500 clings to a 2% gain.
Before you get too excited, consider: Much of the bounce is due to having previously been bludgeoned.
All but three of the "100% wonders" are still below $10 a share. Two, Tenet Healthcare thc and Sprint Nextel, s are below $5 a share. And two, insurers XL Capital xl and Genworth, gnw are in the battered financial sector.
The fact the big bounces are coming from stocks trampled by the bear raises the question: Is their rise the start of a sustainable run for the market or just a few examples of a knee-jerk spring-back?
It's a "Look, they're still breathing" rally, says Michael Farr of Farr Miller & Washington. "Some stocks got way too cheap, but some of the positive rallies back are also excessive."
While skepticism is warranted, analysts say there are a few elements powering the doublers, including:
•The "We're not dead" trade. Investors treated some stocks, such as Sprint Nextel, like goners, says Phil Cusick of Macquarie Research. The stock fell to $1.35 as investors fretted over the wireless carrier's debt and falling revenue. But since management has stemmed the bleeding, investors made quick money betting on the company's survival, says Walter Piecyk of Pali Capital. "When things stop getting worse, stocks can outperform," he says.
•Survival of the fittest. Ford Motorf has seen its shares jump 145% this year as it's likely to benefit from being the healthiest U.S. automaker, says Kirk Ludtke of CRT Capital. Ford may pick up market share from struggling General Motorsgm and Chrysler and piggyback on union wage concessions, he says. In addition, Ford has successfully refinanced debt and sold stock.
•Link to rising commodities. Investors anticipating the economy to bottom are pushing up commodity prices. That's lifting shares of some producers such as Freeport-McMoRan, fcx a large copper producer, says Paul Forward of Stifel Nicolaus. Copper is up 72% this year. With governments stimulating their economies, Forward expects global growth to justify the rise in commodity prices.
And it's likely going to take global growth for the double club to hold its gains and invite more members, says S&P's Howard Silverblatt. "There's more to it than a bounce," he says.