We’ve made note of the dismal performance of Australia’s largest stocks over the past year, including the big four banks – down between 1% and 13%, Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) down over 7% and Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) down 10%.

It’s clear that investors need to diversify beyond the ASX’s top 20 stocks whether it’s for their dividends or capital growth.

These 5 companies have all seen their share prices triple in the past year…

Company Share Price Market Cap ($m) Gain
NRW Holdings Limited (ASX: NWH) $0.54 $173.2 286%
Ausdrill Limited (ASX: ASL) $1.38 $432.5 267%
CogState Limited (ASX: CGS) $1.05 $117.5 250%
Service Stream Limited (ASX: SSM) $1.16 $423.6 213%
Bradken Limited (ASX: BKN) $3.23 $553.3 208%

Source: S&P Global Markets Intelligence, Google Finance

NRW Holdings share price a year ago was just 14 cents. The mining services contractor and provider of mining equipment has staged a stunning turnaround from being on the brink of falling into administration. Debt has been slashed, and the company even reported a decent profit last financial year. Shares still look cheap trading on a PE of less than 10x.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ausdrill and Bradken – also providing products and services to the resources sector – are in the list. Mining services were priced for oblivion 12 months ago, so some of them were bound to bounce back. It also helps that Bradken finally accepted the fifth takeover offer it received earlier this month.

Cogstate saw its share price another 22% yesterday, after the company reported an 82% increase in revenue for the September quarter. Cogstate provides testing software to pharmaceutical companies and biotech stocks to help with their drug trials.

Service Stream has also staged a comeback as the utilities and telecommunications contractor won a number of important contracts including rolling out Australia’s NBN. That saw earnings per share in FY 2016 rocket up 71% and operating cash flow was a whopping $62.3 million – 3 times net profit.

Foolish takeaway

There could be more gains to had from the stocks mentioned above if they can maintain their current momentum.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.