Most of Top 10 S&P Stocks for 2015 Rise Over 50%

The top 10 S&P performers mostly have share prices that rose more than 50% last year. The list also contains many companies run by their founders, and ones that have become long-term leaders in their sectors. This leadership is likely the primary reason their shares will rise or fall this year.

These are the top 10 S&P 500 performers, including dividends:

10. Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX), still run by founder Howard Schultz, posted a share price increase of 48.2% to $60.03. The coffee company continues to prove that it can hold off larger competitors like McDonald’s that sell mostly down market. Starbucks continues to raise its store count in both the United States and overseas.

9. Altera Corp. (NASDAQ: ALTR), the shares of which rose 48.5% to $53.96, was bought out by Intel, obviously at a premium price.

8. Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI), the shares of which rose 48.7% to $46.15, shows the extent to which tobacco demand may have abated, though replaced to some extent by its electronic cigarettes.

7. VeriSign Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) shares rose 52.3% to $87.36, as demand for Internet addresses rose. The company is among the leaders in the sector.

6. The stock price of Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) grew 54.5% to $79.08, as turkey prices have surged.

5. Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), another company controlled by its founding family, rose 57.9% to $31.90 on a buyout of Europe telecom company Altice.

4. The stock of chip company Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) rose 67.1% to $32.96, as the price of the graphics cards it sells for PCs rose. Third-quarter earnings buoyed the stock as well.

3. Shares of Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC) rose 95.2% to $32.68. It spun off a portion of its operations to a new company.

2. Shares of Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), which is run by founder Jeff Bezos, surged 117.8% to $675.89. The holiday season showed just how fair consumer buying habits have swung online. Investors are also impressed by its leading position in cloud computing.

1. Finally, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), led by founder Reed Hastings, is well ahead of most of its competitors in online streaming media. It has started to produce its own programming as a means of adding “cord cutters” to its list of subscribers. The stock ended the year 129.5% higher to $114.38.

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