Two in a row: HealthStream again led locals in '11

In year of extremes, 10 area stocks posted double-digit gains, 11 fell at least 20%

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.

Click here for the full rundown of how local stocks did last year and here for our look back at 2010.