10 Best-Performing Stocks on the S&P 500 and What Could Be Driving Them

  • The rally in US stocks this year has surprised even Wall Street veterans after a dismal 2022.
  • The S&P 500 is up nearly 9% this year, largely on expectations of cooling inflation.
  • tesla, Catalent & NVIDIA are the top 3 preforming stocks in the US benchmark stock index.

After the dismal performance of US stocks in 2022, many Wall Street pundits expected more market pain this year. But they did so well in the early stages that even longtime investors were surprised.

“I think the move up has surprised a lot of seasoned traders, including a few veterans like me,” trading legend and UBS soil director Art Cashin told CNBC.

January is a month when investors typically divest from risky assets, so the market’s optimism was “strange to look at,” according to Wells Fargo equity strategist Anna Han.

The US stock index S&P 500 has recovered over 6% so far in 2023. It has risen mainly on expectations that cooling inflation will allow the Federal Reserve to reverse its aggressive rate hikes, which normally weigh on asset prices and economic growth.

Here are the best-performing stocks in the S&P 500 this year as of Thursday’s close, and what could contribute to their rise.

1.Tesla leads the field with a 68.3% gain as investors warm up to tech stocks again. The Elon Musk-led electric vehicle maker posted strong fourth-quarter results, news of an expanded electric vehicle tax credit and a jump in sales in China as price cuts boost demand.

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2. Catalytic is up 59.9%, thanks in part to reports that life sciences giant Danaher is interested in acquiring the New Jersey drugmaker. It beat sales expectations, though it missed a gain in its quarterly earnings this month.

3. NVIDIA has gained 52.9%. The graphics chip specialist is well positioned to benefit from the ChatGPT craze as its technology can be found in devices running artificial intelligence tools and could play a crucial role in AI development. Investors interested in the emerging technology may have taken note.

4. Align technology, the leading manufacturer of Invisalign straighteners, is up 52.4%. Shares rose 27% after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results in February. Some analysts believe pent-up demand as China reopens could boost the company’s shipments this year.

5. Warner Bros. discovery has gained 51.6%. The company decided in early February to abandon its plans to consolidate its streaming services and keep Discovery+ as a standalone platform. The strategy change should avoid losing subscribers who might not want to pay premium prices to watch other content.

6. Royal Caribbean has increased by 48.8%. Some analysts are expecting a more upbeat year for cruise stocks as pent-up demand from the pandemic makes itself felt.

7. Metaplatforms has increased by 47.9%. Facebook parent company shares are on their best run in a decade after CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed 2023 as the “Year of Efficiency” with a round of cost cuts and share buybacks.

8. Monolithic Energy Systems has gained 44.4%. The chipmaker’s stock is already up in 2023, climbing 10% on Wednesday after fourth-quarter results beat Wall Street expectations and boosted its quarterly dividend.

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9. Carnival has increased by 43.1%. Like other companies in the cruise and hotel industries, it has the potential to benefit from consumer spend on experiences this year.

10. Norwegian Cruise Line has seen an increase of 38.2%.

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