Markets around the world continue to drop in response to global economic headwinds. 2016 could turn out to be one of the toughest years in the markets since the 2008 financial crisis. This means that making smart investment decisions will be crucial. Today I’m exploring three stocks that could take off in the next year or two. 

Gold producer on the mend

Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) has had an eye watering fall in the last 10 years. Back in 2006, the company was trading at close to £17 a share and on the cusp of entering the UK’s premier index, the FTSE 100. Today the shares change hands at close to 5p and original equity holders have been wiped out by a dilutive rights issue. Currently debt stands at close to $600m, which is a big figure, but the company has a plan and is aiming to be debt-free within three years. The company operates low-cost gold mines in the Amur region of Siberia, Russia and is profitable at the current gold price. Obviously any increase in the gold price would be hugely beneficial for Petropavlovsk and allow a faster repayment of debt. 

Falkland explorer

Rockhopper Exploration (LSE: RKH) is a company that has been in the news a lot recently. A few years ago the explorer made headlines when it discovered the Sea Lion field in the waters off the much-disputed Falkland Islands. Fast forward a few years and the company has made anther significant discovery to the south of Sea Lion. Importantly, Rockhopper is fully carried on the Sea Lion development by partner Premier Oil  (LSE: PMO) and will see the reward when the development reaches its plateau production rate of 60-85 KBOPD. The company has over $110m in cash that will fund the pre-development costs as well as the operating costs of the Mediterranean oil and gas portfolio. If the oil price does turn this year and begins to move up, then expect Rockhopper to move very fast. 

Digital junior

Monitise  (LSE:MONI) had a torrid 2015 and the shares fell by over 80% on continued profitability fears. The company has a list of impressive clients such as RBS, Santander, Visa and Samsung, but still made a £42m loss last year. The company operates in an exciting industry and provides specialised digital technology for big clients. The new core of the company is the cloud platform, which in my opinion is becoming a crowded area where differentiation will be difficult. The company did have £88m in cash as of September to fund growth, which is encouraging and should settle investors worrying about placings ahead. 

Petropavlovsk and Rockhopper could be fantastic investments for investors willing to take some exposure to commodities. They’re certainly a contrarian buy, but often the best returns come when you bet against the market. Both companies have clear plans to create shareholder value and are internally funded. But Monitise in my opinion could go either way and profitability issues are a big concern going forward. 

If you want to beat the market and make a great return, then this report is a must read. Just click here now and it will be delivered straight to your inbox and at no cost. 

The Motley Fool's expert analysts have written the document to provide investors with 10 steps to make a million in the market

The report is full of helpful information and it will help investors make lasting returns. The best part is all you have to do to get in on this great resource is click here. 

Jack Dingwall has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of Monitise. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.