10 Incredibly Surprising Best-Performing S&P 500 Stocks of 2019

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The carnage of late 2018 was replaced almost immediately with the return of the big bull market through the entire first quarter of 2019. And with the start of the second quarter running smoothly ahead of earnings season, now the indexes are all having a solid performance in 2019.

As of Friday, the major index exchange traded funds were showing solid year-to-date gains: Nasdaq-100 up 19%, S&P 500 up about 15% and the Dow Jones industrials up 13%.

There is a stock market expression that a rising tide lifts all ships, and some of the S&P 500’s top gainers so far in 2019 have been companies that might seem rather surprising because they aren’t ones that the investing community normally would be stepping all over itself to own the shares.

24/7 Wall St. used a screen from Finviz and Refinitiv data for figures about year-to-date (YTD) performance metrics. We added trading information and additional color for the logic behind each gain, and some deserved more coverage than others, without covering every single gainer. A specific issue was targeting the leader of each of the major sectors that was still greatly outperforming the broader index gains, so some of the ones right behind the performance in each sector may have been counted behind each named leader.

Here are the ten biggest, and perhaps unusual, top year-to-date performers of the S&P 500 as of Friday, April 5, 2019.

The Best Performer Is Xerox, Up 67%

Many people might wonder if Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) still had a place in the future. Xerox has been the top stock performer in the S&P 500m with a whopping 67% year-to-date gain. Trading at $33.30 late on Friday, it has a 52-week range is $18.58 to $33.67 and a consensus target price is $35.50.

The company recently adopted a holding company strategy. Xerox unveiled a new services offering to advance digital transformations, and the company is exploring strategic alternatives to sell is customer financing business. While the gains have been massive in 2019, Xerox lost over one-third of its value in November and December’s selling carnage, and the stock is really up a more reasonable 15% from that pre-flop peak of $29 or so in November.

Chipotle Is Up 63%

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is no longer in the business of giving its customers Montezuma’s revenge. The company has taken a more disciplined store opening approach and has emerged with its own loyalty program and appears to be coming on strong with digital orders. Chipotle was the second-best S&P 500 stock YTD, with a gain of close to 63%.

Analysts have been playing catch up with big upgrades and price target hikes, and this stock surged above and beyond most analyst expectations. With shares close to $705, the recent consensus price target of $571.78 shows just how far behind they have been.

The street-high price target is $760 here, and it just seems as if it’s safe to wonder if and when some analyst or investor will come out with a $1,000 share price target, given the nature of the history of investors (analysts and hedge funds too) chasing performance and momentum.

Delphi Technologies Is Up 60%

Delphi Technologies PLC (NYSE: DLPH) seems surprising to see in the top performer list at all, let alone as the third best S&P 500 member with a 60% gain YTD, considering the continued overhang with peak auto having already been seen. Delphi makes and sells integrated powertrain technologies for the auto industry through its Powertrain Systems and Delphi Technologies Aftermarket segments.

Its chart has done well and is breaking out, if you just looked the 2019 performance. But with shares close to $23.45, it has a 52-week range of $13.18 to $53.78, which should paint a better picture of “great today maybe not so great over time.” Delphi’s consensus target price is $24.56.

AMD Is Up 57%

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) may not be a surprise to the AMD fans, but some of the demand reports and chip reports for 2019 have been less robust than many of the chip stocks might be indicating. Still, AMD did win recent GPU partnerships for new age gaming trends. AMD shares were soft on Friday, with shares down around $28.90, but the stock screened out as being up 57% YTD. It was the fourth best performing S&P 500 stock so far this year.

AMD’s 52-week range is $9.50 to $34.14, and analysts have very mixed views, with the consensus analyst target being closer to $25. The street-high target is up at $42. Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) was next in line as the fifth best S&P 500 stock with 50% YTD gain, and IPG Photonics Corp. (NASDAQ: IPGP) was the eighth best with a 48% gain.