The 7 Best Performing Stocks of 2011 (AAPL, GENE, JVA, VRUS, GMCR, SIMO, MAKO, RIC)

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2011 has not exactly turned out the way many market pundits expected at the start of the year. The economy has slowed down to near-recession levels, the flight to safety has bond yields down to almost nothing, and most sectors remain under pressure. Still, there are almost always some stocks that manage to perform well despite the overall market. 24/7 Wall St. has evaluated the best performing stocks so far for 2011 based on year-to-date performance that fit within liquidity and size parameters.

Some investors might have guesses that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is among those stocks that are up the most, especially after it hit yet another all-time high this week. But Apple and its 27% move this year  does not even come close. We screened out companies with market capitalization rates which had not reached the $100 million mark at some point this year and we put a $5.00 minimum share price in this screen as well. We also set an average daily volume of 200,000 shares. We also removed the companies which are up due to a merger premium. While we didn’t set this as a minimum threshold, all of these stocks have risen more than 100% year-to-date.

The best performing stocks within the criteria screened are as follows: Genetic Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: GENE); Coffee Holding Co.Inc. (NASDAQ: JVA); Pharmasset, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRUS); Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR); Silicon Motion Technology Corp. (NASDAQ: SIMO); MAKO Surgical Corp. (NASDAQ: MAKO); and Richmont Mines Inc. (AMEX: RIC). We have outlined the performance and the catalysts on each, as well as offered commentary on what lies ahead for each.

Genetic Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: GENE) is up the most of all the screened stocks so far this year with a gain of about 450%, but the caveat is that it is down substantially from its year highs as well. At $5.86, the 52-week trading range is $0.65 to $10.75, and it trades about 250,000 shares per day. This one has a market capitalization of only about $79 million, but that had been north of $100 million earlier this year.

The company is actually a genetic testing servicing company offering screening services for humans and animals, and it is located in Australia. A capital raise in Australia hurt the stock over the summer and the stock has not really recovered since. The company has launched a new breast cancer test in America, and it has filed patent infringement suits for its primary non-coding patent against at least ten companies this year. While shares had already risen sharply in January, it was the April approval of that breast cancer test that caused shares to skyrocket. We find it interesting that almost no analyst coverage exists on this company.