The Best S&P 500 Stocks of the Month

Find out which companies fared best in April and why.

May 3, 2014 at 11:35AM

The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) had a reasonably good month in April, with the index rising 0.6% and achieving its best monthly close ever. But several stocks blew the lights out, with impressive gains that far exceeded what the broader market gave investors. Let's take a closer look at Allergan (NYSE:AGN) and Pepco Holdings (NYSE:POM) to find out why they topped the list with gains of more than 30%, and then we'll also look at some other hot areas that performed well during the month.


Allergan gained more than 33% after the maker of Botox got a $45 billion buyout offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The deal includes about one-third of the offering price in cash and the rest in shares, but Allergan actually traded well above the value of the bid as Allergan shareholders speculated that the company would hold out for a better offer. Indeed, Allergan proceeded to adopt a poison-pill defense to prevent Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Management from increasing his already substantial stake in the company. Investors could get further gains if Allergan receives a sweetened deal, but Allergan also runs the risk of a big share-price decline if the transaction ends up falling through.

Meanwhile, utility Pepco Holdings jumped 31% after it agreed to a friendly takeover from Exelon. The all-cash deal values the mid-Atlantic utility company at $6.8 billion, and Pepco argued that customers should like the merger because of the vast capital resources that the combined company can bring toward improving infrastructure as well as potential cost reductions that could help take upward pressure off utility rates. Pepco shareholders will need to approve the deal, but with both boards of directors supporting it, it's likely that the merger will happen by the middle of next year.

Source: Letartean, Wikimedia Commons.

Finally, the energy industry also performed well in April, with three companies in the oil and gas and coal industries posting gains of more than 15%. Coal companies have struggled under the weight of strong competition from natural gas, but the recent rise in natural gas prices has finally helped coal companies see the potential for higher demand from electricity-generating utilities and other major customers. Meanwhile, merger-and-acquisition activity throughout the stock market has captured the attention of energy investors, especially as major oil companies seek to flesh out their asset portfolios in order to keep production levels growing.

With Pepco Holdings and Allergan, investors shouldn't expect to see further gains, even given an unpredictable M&A environment that can sometimes lead to surprising twists like rival bids. For energy stocks generally, though, low valuations make the sector an interesting one for investors looking for ways to invest prudently even with the S&P 500 near record highs.

Warren Buffett just bought nearly 9 million shares of this company
Imagine a company that rents a very specific and valuable piece of machinery for $41,000 per hour. (That's almost as much as the average American makes in a year!) And Warren Buffett is so confident in this company's can't-live-without-it business model, he just loaded up on 8.8 million shares. An exclusive, brand-new Motley Fool report details this company that already has over 50% market share. Just click here to discover more about this industry-leading stock, and join Buffett in his quest for a veritable landslide of profits!

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Exelon and Valeant Pharmaceuticals and owns shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers