The S&P 500's 10 Best Stocks Through the First Half of 2014

These 10 companies on the S&P 500 have outpaced the competition in the first six months of the year.

Jun 29, 2014 at 3:00PM


Believe it or not, we're already halfway through 2014. And what a year it's been for stocks. While the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is up only 7% over the past six months, the widely tracked index is flirting with previously unthinkable highs.

Six years ago, the market was barreling toward the precipice on the eve of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Today, the S&P 500 sits at 1,960 -- or within a hair's breadth of 2,000.

To appreciate the market's current level, one need only glance at the following chart, which, at least on its surface, seems to foretell challenging times ahead.


But whether or not we're in the midst of yet another bubble is a question for another day. Right now, my point is simply to recognize the 10 best performing stocks on the S&P 500 for the first half of the year.


YTD Performance

Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX)


Nabors Industries


Forest Laboratories




Electronic Arts


Williams Companies


Pepco Holdings


SanDisk Corp.


Micron Technology


Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV)



To be sure, as a recent Yahoo! Finance article points out, the explanation for each of these stocks' performances is varied.

For its part, Newfield Exploration sports the worst five-year total return of the bunch, leading one to conclude that it's retracing previously lost ground.

Meanwhile, two pharmaceutical companies made the list. Forest Laboratories is soaring after agreeing to be acquired by Actavis earlier in the year. Meanwhile, Allergan, the maker of Botox, continues to ride the wave of its signature product's popularity.

And even an airline sneaked on to the list, with Southwest Airlines making the cut at No. 10. Most recently, as my colleague Brian Pacampara discussed, analysts at Stifel upgraded it and gave a $30 price target. That represents a 15% upside and, as Brian points out, "could reflect a sense on Wall Street that the concerns surrounding the airline's growth trajectory are becoming overblown."

So, what does all of this mean for stocks going forward? It's impossible to predict. However, one would be excused for concluding that the current run may end up being too good to be true -- though let's hope this doesn't turn out to be the case.

Warren Buffett: This new technology is a "real threat"
At the recent Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Warren Buffett said this emerging technology is threatening his biggest cash cow. While Buffett shakes in his billionaire boots, only a few investors are embracing this new market, which experts say will be worth over $2 trillion. Find out how you can cash in on this technology before the crowd catches on, by jumping on to one company that could get you the biggest piece of the action. Click here to access a free investor alert on the company we're calling the brains behind the technology.

John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.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.

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