Special Report

The 25 Top Stocks of 2023: The Best Performers So Far This Year

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The market has rallied across the past week and the S&P 500 is suddenly is suddenly up 13.97% year-to-date. Yet, while the market itself is up, certain stocks have struggled while others have powered to new all time highs. In the article below we’ll take a closer look at the 25 stocks that have performed the best in the entire S&P 500.

By examining stocks on this list you’ll be able to see the trends that are powering portfolios to all time highs. Let’s get started!

Stocks That Just Missed the List

Before we reveal the top-25 performers, here are a few of the stocks that just missed the list.

  • Applied Materials: 44.5%
  • FedEx Corporation: 45% return
  • Micron Technology: 46% return
  • Alphabet: 46.3% return
  • Netflix: 46.6%

This group of companies sets the tone for our list, it’s a lot of large technology companies. No company on this list has returned less than 47% through 10 months of the year, which is a total that crushes even the highest rates you’ll get for Treasuries and other fixed income.

25. Chipotle Mexican Grill: Up 47.1%

  • Stock: Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG)
  • Industry: Restaurant
  • Market Capitalization: $56.0 Billion

Chipotle has grown sales by 13.3% and profits by 44.7% from the past 12 months. This outsized growth has made it one of the top performers among restaurants. Chipotle is successfully managing to pass along price increases to consumers. Other restaurant giants like McDonald’s have also recently released promising earnings.

24. Intel Corporation: Up 47.2%

  • Stock: Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC)
  • Industry: Semiconductors
  • Market Capitalization: $160.8 Billion

Growth in artificial intelligence has been kind to a number of stocks on this list, and Intel is one of them. The company reported earnings this week that impressed the market. Sales were down about 8% from the previous year, but considering the prior quarter was down 16% and the quarter before that was down 36%, you can see how Intel is in full turnaround mode.

23. NRG Energy: Up 47.4%

  • Stock: NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG)
  • Industry: Power Companies
  • Market Capitalization: $10.3 Billion

NRG is our first utility on the list. The company has performed admirably in 2023 in part due to a massive drop at the end of 2022. Thanks to the rally in 2022 it shares are about flat from a year ago. NRG yields 3.6%.

22. Microsoft Corporation: Up 48.1%

  • Stock: Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Industry: Software
  • Market Capitalization: $2.62 Trillion

It’s been a banner year for Microsoft as its Azure Cloud Computing division continues to take market share away from Amazon. The company grew profits 27% in its latest quarter and continues to threaten Apple for the crown of the world’s most valuable company.

21. Copart: Up 50.9%

  • Stock: Copart (Nasdaq: CPRT)
  • Industry: Auto parts
  • Market Capitalization: $44.1 Billion

2023 has been very kind to Copart. In its most recent quarter the company reported 12.9% sales growth (up from 8.7% at the start of the year) and profits grew 31.9%. This stellar growth has made Copart one of the market’s top performers in 2023.

20. Lam Research Corporation: Up 52.3%

  • Stock: Lam Research (Nasdaq: LCRX)
  • Industry: Semiconductors
  • Market Capitalization: $88.6 Billion

Let the run of semiconductor companies begin! If you’ve had any doubts on how much artificial intelligence is driving stock market returns, they’ll be put to doubt by the number of companies coming up on this list that are big winners from the growth of AI. Lam Research makes equipment that allows companies to manufacture semiconductors. While its financial performance has struggled in recent quarters, the long-term excitement about demand for semiconductors from the growth of artificial intelligence and other growth markets has propelled Lam Research to 52.3% returns so far in 2023.

19. Synopsys: Up 52.8%

  • Stock: Synopsys (Nasdaq: SNPS)
  • Industry: Semiconductors
  • Market Capitalization: $74.2 Billion

Synopsys is a leader in electronic design automation – which is the software used to create new semiconductors. In its most recent quarter sales growth jumped from 9% to 19.2% and profits grew at a rate of 51%.

18. Cadence Design Systems: Up 55.3%

  • Stock: Cadence Design Systems (Nasdaq: CDNS)
  • Industry: Semiconductors
  • Market Capitalization: $67.9 Billion

The secret to wealth in 2023? Knowing companies that build the software for the semiconductor industry. Cadence is another company that builds semiconductor software, and is placing a big push behind its suite of AI software. Sales in its most recent quarter grew 13.4% while profits jumped 36.5%.

17. Fair Isaac Corporation: Up 55.4%

  • Stock: Fair Isaac (NYSE: FICO)
  • Industry: Software
  • Market Capitalization: $23.1 Billion

FICO scores are used to score consumer credit risk, and apparently they’re big business as well. The company that owns the analytics behind FICO scores is Fair Isaac, and its been on an absolute run since last November. The company is up 55.4% year-to-date thanks to booming revenue. After Fair Isaac saw revenue growth bottom out at 3.2% in mid-2022, it has steadily risen and hit 14.2% last quarter. Better yet, profits grew at a 37.7% clip.

16. Carnival Corporation: Up 55.7%

  • Stock: Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL)
  • Industry: Cruise Ships
  • Market Capitalization: $15.7 Billion

Cruise ships have struggled in the wake of Covid, but they are back in a big way in 2023. Carnival reported revenue growth of 59.2% in its most recent quarter. While Carnival’s stock is up big in 2023, it’s actually fallen quite a bit since peaking during the summer.

15. ServiceNow: Up 56.3%

  • Stock: ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW)
  • Industry: Systems Software
  • Market Capitalization: $124.1 Billion

The biggest technology companies have had an outstanding 2023, but many non-trillion dollar companies have struggled. One non-FAANG company that’s rallied throughout 2023 is ServiceNow, which is up an impressive 56.3%. One big reason for its performance is revenue has re-accelerated. After sales growth dropped to 20.2% at the end of 2022, it hit 25% last quarter. Operating profit growth is even stronger at 153.8%. Continuing to show strong profit growth is important as ServiceNow trades at a rich 15X price-to-sales multiple.

14. Eli Lilly and Company: Up 56.4%

  • Stock: Elli Lilly (NYSE: LLY)
  • Industry: Systems Software
  • Market Capitalization: $510.6 Billion

2023 has been the year of two major trends: artificial intelligence and anti-obesity drugs. Eli Lilly developed Mounjaro, which is now competing with Ozempic and seeing booming sales. Sales at the company were up 36.8% from the prior year.

13. Salesforce: Up 56.5%

  • Stock: Salesforce (NYSE: CRM)
  • Industry: Software
  • Market Capitalization: $201.8 Billion

Salesforce has bounced back in 2023 in part because it had such a bad 2022. The company’s stock collapsed from more than $300 per share in late 2021 down to about $130 per share in late 2022. Today, Salesforce’s stock has rebounded but it’s still well off all-time highs.

12. Broadcom: Up 60.7%

  • Stock: Broadcom (Nasdaq: AVGO)
  • Industry: Semiconductors
  • Market Capitalization: $364.3 Billion

Broadcom is an absolutely massive company that far too few investors know about. For example, it’s worth more than twice as much as Intel, but I can assure you Intel is a much larger household name! Broadcom sales have slid in 2023, reaching just 4.9% sales growth last quarter. Yet, like many other semiconductor stocks its riding a wave of optimism about artificial intelligence-fueled growth. By 2026 its expected that Broadcom will product more than $20 billion in annual profit.

11. Amazon: Up 65.0%

  • Stock: Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN)
  • Industry: Retail and Cloud Computing
  • Market Capitalization: $1.43 Trillion

Amazon employs more than 1.5 million people and has become an absolute giant. Like other companies on this list, its stock is rebounding in 2023 in part because it had such a terrible 2022. Last winter the company reported just 8.6% profit growth in its fourth quarter which led its shares to a 52-week low of $81.43. However, in its recent quarter, sales growth rebounded to 12.6% and Amazon has bounced back to $138.60 per share after an outstanding earnings report this week.

10. General Electric: Up 67.0%

  • Stock: General Electric (NYSE: GE)
  • Industry: Conglomerates
  • Market Capitalization: $128.6 Billion

Is GE back? It certainly looks that way in 2023! The company’s stock has been on an upward march most of the year. A big reason for that march is that sales are on fire. In the fourth quarter of last year sales growth was 7.3% and in GE’s most recent quarter soared to 19.9%. Who says elephants can’t dance?

9. Adobe: Up 67.5%

  • Stock: Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE)
  • Industry: Software
  • Market Capitalization: $256.3 Billion

The buzz word in Silicon Valley is generative AI. It’s a recent breakthrough that’s facilitating massive advances in areas like image generation. Thankfully for Adobe investors, the company has been out in front of creating generative AI products, and investors are flocking into the stock to get ahead of this massive trend.

8. Advanced Micro Devices: Up 73.3%

  • Stock: Advanced Micro Devices  (Nasdaq: AMD)
  • Industry: Semiconductors
  • Market Capitalization: $181.3 Billion

The arm’s dealers of the AI revolution are AMD and NVIDIA (more on them to come). Both these companies are seeing cutting-edge AI chips on backorder and their stocks have soared skyward while industry sales take off.

7. Palo Alto Networks: Up 74.5%

  • Stock: Palo Alto Networks (Nasdaq: PANW)
  • Industry: Cybersecurity
  • Market Capitalization: $75.7 Billion

Palo Alto Networks is a massive cybersecurity company that helped pioneer the “data lake” approach. That is to say, they have enough customers they’re able to gain data on new security threats and defend them using artificial intelligence techniques. Revenue growth has improved in recent quarters, hitting 26% last quarter. That momentum has been enough to makes Palo Alto’s stock one of the best performers in the market.

6. Arista Networks: Up 75.1%

  • Stock: Arista Networks (Nasdaq: ANET)
  • Industry: Networking
  • Market Capitalization: $66.1 Billion

Arista Networks is on fire. While many technology stocks are still trying to reach all-time highs reached in late 2021 or 2022, Arista Networks keeps churning to new highs. Growth is decelearing after hitting 54% in late 2022, but investors are sticking with the stock. While sales growth has dropped, in its latest quarter, Arista still saw profits surge forward by 54%.

5. Tesla: Up 78.6%

  • Stock: Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA)
  • Industry: Automaker
  • Market Capitalization: $669.2 Billion

Tesla was growing sales at 55.9% in the third quarter of last year and in its most recent quarter sales growth collapsed to 8.8%. So why are its shares up nearly 80% this year? One reason, Tesla is rebounding after bottoming out at the start of 2023. Another reason is that growth estimates are still healthy for next year. Its estimated Tesla will hit $120 billion in sales next year, a big jump from this year’s estimate for $97 billion.

4. PulteGroup: Up 84.4%

  • Stock: PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM)
  • Industry: Home Construction
  • Market Capitalization: $17.9 Billion

It’s not just tech and artificial intelligence stocks on this list! Fears mounted throughout 2022 that the housing market would come to a stand still as rates skyrocketed, but Pulte has weathered the storm. Sales growth has fallen from 13.5% at the end of 2022 to 2.8% today, but investors are betting the company will see growth resume in the years ahead as rates stabilize.

3. Royal Caribbean Cruises: Up 86.9%

  • Stock: Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE: RCL)
  • Industry: Cruises
  • Market Capitalization: $23.7 Billion

Royal Caribbean joins Carnival as the cruise ship entries on this list. Other “in person” stocks that were popular following the lifting of Covid restrictions have also rallied. For example, Live Nation just saw blowout earnings on the back of concert ticket sales to summer concerts like Taylor Swift and Beyonce.

2. Meta Platforms: Up 161.4%

  • Stock: Meta Platforms (Nasdaq: META)
  • Industry: Software
  • Market Capitalization: $808.5 Billion

No stock was hated more than Meta Platforms at the end of 2022. The company was seeing revenue growth collapse, it was spending to much on projects (like the metaverse) that investors didn’t believe in, and the ad market was in a funk.

Fast-forward to today and Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg communicated cost-reduction plans, the company has seen a re-acceleration in revenue, and investors are much more enthusiastic about the stock.

1. NVIDIA: Up 208.1%

  • Stock: NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA)
  • Industry: Semiconductors
  • Market Capitalization: $1.11 Trillion

In the year of AI, who else could hold the top spot of this list? 2023 is truly NVIDIA’s year. In the most recent quarter revenue grew by an astounding 101.5%. The driver of the growth is expensive AI chips that are now significantly backordered. NVIDIA has been through several boom and bust cycles, but the company has never felt this ascendent.

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