The investment markets may have been volatile and even downright erratic at times in 2011. But that doesn't mean investors lost their ability to spot a good fundamental story. The 2011 scoreboard of Nashville-area stocks provides ample evidence.
Witness the top of the list, where HealthStream sits for the second year in a row after climbing 126 percent in the past 12 months. That rise followed a 2010 in which the stock (Ticker: HSTM) also more than doubled in value and was powered by the potent combination of earnings beats, the signing of big-name clients and rising awareness among institutional investors.
Look, too, at a number of other top local performers of the past 12 months. Names such as Genesco, Tractor Supply and Dollar General provided the steady earnings growth and clear strategic vision — without trotting out any negative surprises — that investors treasured more than usual in a year full of macroeconomic uncertainties.
Conversely, names that let down the Street or wrestled with unexpected developments — Community Health Systems and Tennessee Commerce chief among them — were punished more ruthlessly than they might have been in a year without debt-ceiling worries, a U.S. credit rating downgrade and fears of a euro meltdown. Both stocks, as well as BioMimetic Therapeutics, finished 2011 down more than 50 percent.