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Stocks that are now reaching new highs have been doing so over the last few months. Will that trend continue? And if it does, what stocks are the best to "pay up" for?

I took a look at which stocks had huge gains in the third quarter and wanted to share them with you. Beyond that I wanted to take a look at which stocks have the best chance to continue hitting new highs. Even though these stocks seem expensive now, if they keep hitting new highs, the price now will seem cheap in just a few months.

The Criteria

I wanted to exclude the one million percent gainers from any screen that I might run, so I limited our results. The best way to do that was to look for stocks that were priced higher than $5 right now.

So for all stocks I just wanted the stocks that have tripled. I set the benchmark at 200% performance. There are some pitfalls in this list, but instead of just spitting out the list I thought I would do a little value add along with it.

The List

Over the last 12 weeks, here are the stocks that have the greatest performance. Only stocks with prices great than $5 were eligible to get on this exclusive list.

Starting at the top we have a 450% return... which is awesome. What is not awesome is that it has a market cap of $9M - so this bio tech play might not be what we are looking for.

Next up is a 392% performer, Gaungzhou Pharma which has a very respectable market cap of $924M and an $84 stock price. The problem here is that the stock has an average volume of 17 shares, and typically does not trade at all. Liquidity issues seem to dominate the top of the list!

BioCryst Pharma ((BCRX - Snapshot Report)) is the first stock on that list that is something really worth looking at. It is almost $400M in market cap and has liquidity in the form of daily volume of around 1.5M shares. The stock is currently a little below the 52 week high of $7.80 which was reached on October 1, 2013.

Back on June 24, the stock closed at $1.42, so we are talking about a massive run higher throughout the quarter. BCRX makes enzymes that are used to fight diseases, including Peramivir which is used to fight the flu.

The main catalyst in the quarter was the completion of phase I trial for a drug... along with a host of upgrades from analysts. The company also did a secondary around $4, so that risk is also off the table.

Who Keeps On Running?

Some of those stocks on that list of huge winners are a little suspect. I know I wouldn't want to throw my money at them now, or even before the mega runs they had. There are others that I would prefer to focus on.

When I add in the idea of Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) to the mix, I get a different list. I also made the minimum return a paltry 50%, be we still have some big winners. By screening against the Zacks Rank, I get a list of names that have continued to see earnings estimate increases throughout the quarter. That means that analysts continue to like the future prospects for these stocks despite the big runs they have had.

The #1 List

I kept the idea of stock priced great than $5, and seeing as they have to have coverage from at least one analyst you are not going to see that many liquidity challenged stocks. This list is topped off by Phoenix New Media ((FENG - Snapshot Report)) after it returned 124% over the last 12 weeks. It has a market capitalization just short of $1 billion and a double digit stock price. Acceptable volume of 900,000 shares over the last 30 days tells me you can buy this stock without moving the market as well.

As a player in the Chinese internet landscape, FENG comes with a fair degree of risk. The stock hit a new high again today, October 7, at a price of $13 even.

Why This List is Only a Start

I see a lot of China plays on this list and while the analysts like the future prospects over the near term, these companies also carry a decent amount of long term risk.

Numerous articles out of China talk of a real estate mentality that is just screaming bubble. Those types of situations will always attract quick speculation capital, but are rarely good for long term investments.

Not that all China stocks are bad, there are many that are good, but further research and diligence needs to be done on each of the names on this list.

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Brian Bolan is a Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. He is the Editor in charge of the Zacks Home Run Investor service, a Buy and Hold service where he recommends the stocks in the portfolio.

Brian is also the editor of Breakout Growth Trader a trading service that focuses on small cap stocks and also carries a risk limiting strategy.

Follow Brian Bolan on twitter at @BBolan1

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