Panera's stock price of $49.17 as of Dec. 29 represented a 37.3% year-to-date gain, according to Munarriz. "Panera's latest quarter was solid, with revenue and earnings inching 15% higher as store-level comps clocked in positive," he noted. "Yes, the quick-service bakery and sandwich shop used to be a faster sprinter, but it managed to pace itself just fine during [2008's] marathon."
The other stocks
cited as showing substantial growth last year were Marvel Entertainment (up 12.7%), NetEase.com (13.4%), JetBlue (11.7%), Hasbro (13.3%), Wal-Mart (18%) and Netflix (4.9%). --Karlene Lukovitz