It remains to be seen if 2018 will end with a bang or a whimper, but investors keeping close tabs on the market know that it's been a year of ups and downs. Despite the volatility, the S&P 500 is up a modest 3.2% through the first 11 months of the year. It almost seems yawn-worthy, even though investors know that the market hasn't been sleepy at all. There are a lot of stocks getting killed this year. There are also plenty of names that are rocking.
Twilio (TWLO 4.36%), SeaWorld Entertainment (CVNA 12.86%), and New Age Beverages (NBEV) are three stocks pulling off big gains in 2018, up 300%, 110%, and 113% respectively this year. They have more than doubled, but the good news doesn't have to stop here. They're hot stocks, but they still have enough in the tank to keep moving higher in the month ahead.
One of this year's biggest winners is the top dog when it comes to in-app communications solutions. The next time that you reset your Hulu password or have a conversation with your Uber Eats driver about the your pad Thai order running late -- without leaving the app -- you're seeing Twilio in action. The cloud-based darling's growing toolbox of app enhancements is the golden standard in mobile apps, and it's why the number of developers leaning on Twilio has soared 31% over the past year.
Twilio is killing it, as you can probably imagine from one of the roughly dozen stocks to actually quadruple in 2018. Revenue rose 68% in its latest quarter, blasting through expectations but also continuing a shareholder-lucrative trend of accelerating top-line gains. Momentum is on its side, and now we're knee-deep into the holiday shopping season where Twilio's app magic will continue to deliver the goods.
The only major amusement park operator to have its stock more than double this year is SeaWorld Entertainment. We're now five years removed from the Blackfish documentary that made the marine life-themed park operator a popular target for animal rights activists. The boo birds haven't entirely gone away, but we're finally at the point where mainstream audiences have moved on to other causes.
Attendance and revenue are rising for the first time since 2013, and we're not just talking about modest upticks. Turnstile clicks are climbing 9% through the first nine months of the year, well ahead of its peers. Revenue is growing even higher. Things should continue to improve in the near term. Larger theme park operators in SeaWorld strongholds in Central Florida and Southern California have been jacking up their admission prices, freeing SeaWorld to follow suit now that it actually has more leverage than desperation in its breath.
New Age Beverages
One of the hottest investing trends in 2018 has been cannabis, as legalization in some form or another continues to open the door of opportunity for companies preparing for the shifting climate in acceptance. New Age Beverages became a bottle rocket in mid-September when it revealed that it would be introducing a line of cannabidiol (CBD)-infused beverages. The stock would go on to soar nearly sixfold at its frenzied peak three weeks later.
The stock has given back more than half of its peak gains, but it's getting December off to a strong start by announcing an $85 million deal on Monday to acquire Morinda, a much larger beverage company with $240 million in annual revenue and positive adjusted EBITDA. Morinda and its flagship Tahitian Noni-Juice has a large global footprint with a presence in 60 different countries. The deal should help New Age Beverages piggyback on the wider reach that Morinda brings to the table, giving it a clear path to expand the sales of its existing healthy, natural, and functional beverages. The cannabis angle has helped expand awareness for New Age Beverages' existing lines, and now it has the perfect stepping stone to reach an even larger global audience.