Rising Gas Prices and 6 Hot Stocks to Watch for March 12: JVA, QSFT, SWHC, MCP, VRS, QRM

Wall Street

Rising gas prices over the past few weeks would lead you to believe that the recovery could be in danger. What people are missing is the mitigating factor in consumer spending. The winter that never happened. Last year it was Snowpacalypse or Armageddon. Some sort of cataclysmic winter weather even. So utility bills have been kept in check which offsets the rise. The question now is what happens now.

Spring is pretty much upon us along with the summer driving season. If gas prices continue to climb you have to expect some sort of consumer pullback. We saw it in 2008, and it stands to reason it will happen this year. Tensions with Iran and continued growth in the developing world will put constraints on supply leading speculators to juice the price of oil. We should soon find out in the coming weeks when new consumer data releases if the price at the pump is effecting spending.

Hot Stocks to Watch

Coffee Holding Co., Inc. (NASDAQ:JVA) closed Friday up 35.03% at $10.60. JVA traded heavy volume on Friday following the company’s quarterly report. Sales grew 120% to $56.6 million, the same quarter last year saw 25.6 million in sales. The company has a market cap of 67.54 million.

Quest Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:QSFT) is finished Friday up 24.07% at $24.07. QSFT traded over 12.6 million shares on Friday, up from its daily average of 700 thousand shares. Quest shares rose late last week after the company agreed to be acquired by Insight Venture Partners for $2 billion. The company has a market cap of 2.01 billion.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC) closed Friday up nearly 23% at $6.95. SWHC shares rose last week after the company raised its 2012 sales outlook. Smith & Wesson traded 9.1 million shares on Friday, 10 times its average volume. The company has a market cap of 450.84 million.

Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE:MCP) closed Friday up 18.90% at $30.89. MCP traded 17.1 million shares, more than 4 times its usual trading volume. MCP shares jumped Friday after announcing it is purchasing rare earth company Neo Material Technologies at a 42% premium. The company has a market cap of 2.59 billion.

Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE:VRS) finished Friday up 21.95% at $2.50. VRS traded 1.8 million shares on Friday, more than 10 times its average volume. VRS shares jumped more than 100% last week after the company announced a tender offer for outstanding debt. The company has a market cap of 131.49 million.

Quest Rare Minerals Ltd (AMEX:QRM) closed Friday up 20% at $3.00. QRM traded nearly 800 thousand shares on Friday, more than double its average volume. Shares of Quest Rare Minerals jumped about $0.60 last week from its lows. The company has a market cap of 185.19 million.

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About Martin Stephenson

An avid market watcher, Martin enjoys the tech arena the most with the Nasdaq being his main area of focus. A finance major, Martin is working to the goal of one day ringing the bell at the NYSE.

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