The last full week of March was choppy enough that it ticked the Dow ever so slightly into the red for 2015. The close of 17,712.66 put the index down 0.6% year to date. The S&P 500 Index may have closed up five points at 2,061.02 on Friday, but the S&P’s year-to-date return was only 0.1%. Still, this bull market is six years old and investors have lined up to buy stocks on pullbacks for more than three years now.
24/7 Wall St. has already highlighted the worst performing S&P 500 stocks of 2015, and now wants to highlight the best performing S&P 500 stocks of 2015.
In an effort to keep these uniform and representative for investors rather than historians, companies in mergers were not featured in detail. This list of top five gainers now leaves the following as the best-performing S&P 500 stocks not involved in mergers: Skyworks Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: SWKS), Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX), First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) and Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN).
The top two positions in the S&P 500 gainers were eliminated due to pending mergers. Hospira Inc. (NYSE: HSP) was the top performing S&P 500 stock with a 43.5% gain so far this year, but Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is acquiring Hospira for $90 per share. Kraft Foods Group Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) is the second best performing S&P 500 stock with a gain of 42.2%, yet it is due to the complicated transaction with H.J. Heinz Co., Warren Buffett and 3G Capital.
These are the five top performing non-merger stocks in the S&P 500 so far in 2015.
Skyworks Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: SWKS) was the third outright best performing S&P 500 stock so far in 2015 — but it is number one by our count. After a 6.2% gain to $98.83, the stock was up 36.15% so far in 2015. Its consensus price target from analysts is $97.71 and its 52-week trading range is $34.30 to $102.77.
Northland Securities recently raised its price target to $105, and the highest analyst target out there is all the way up at $117. Skyworks trades at 20 times expected 2015 earnings. Interestingly enough, Skyworks just recently was moved up from the S&P Mid-Cap 400 to replace PetSmart in the S&P 500. Merrill Lynch was recently very positive in its RF chip analysis, and RBC Capital Markets recently touted it as an innovative chip player with a strong 2015 outlook.
Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX) is next on the list, a refreshing view considering how bad this company’s history had been in recent years. The turnaround for this medical devices maker has finally turned! After a 2.2% gain to $17.83 on Friday, Boston Scientific shares were up just over 34.5% so far in 2015. Its consensus price target from analysts is $18.71 and its 52-week trading range is $11.10 to $18.17.
First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is supposed to be the king of solar PV makers inside the United States. While it is not involved in a merger, the creation of the yieldco vehicle jointly with SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) is certainly helping the situation here. First Solar closed at $59.61, and its 52-week trading range is $39.18 to $74.18. It has a consensus analyst target of $65, and the street high target is $81.
Mallinckrodt PLC (NYSE: MNK) may be hard to pronounce, but a 30.9% gain so far in 2015 might make some investors get past the name situation. This drug company bought Questcor in 2014 and it has continued to rise. After a 2.2% gain to $129.61 on Friday, its consensus price target is $134.67 and its 52-week trading range is $56.12 to $134.26. One analyst sees this stock rising to $150.
Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) may still be a dividend sinner by our look, but 2015 is turning out to be a handy recovery so far for a story that looked as though it was stalling earlier in the year. It even reached the $1 billion in quarterly sales mark.
Shares of the apparel retailer closed at $45.47 on Friday, giving it a gain of more than 29.4% so far in 2015. Its consensus price target from analysts is $43.13 and its 52-week trading range is $27.89 to $47.25. While Urban Outfitters is trading at 22 times expected earnings and above its consensus analyst target, the highest analyst price target for the stock is $50.
Here is the full list of the 10 worst performing S&P 500 stocks so far in 2015. Let’s just say that some of these were quite surprising.