The past week mostly continued the 2012 trend of treating investors right -- though the gains weren't nearly as pronounced as they had been through the first few weeks of the year. While positive earnings news kept Mr. Market optimistic on the whole, there were some serious concerns that weighed on investors toward the back end of the week. Europe continues to a primary worry, and Greece in particular is causing a lot of nail-biting as it continues its tug-of-war with private investors to work out a debt compromise. In the U.S., meanwhile, the economic outlook took a hit when the advanced reading on fourth-quarter GDP growth came in below estimates.
By the time the dust had settled, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Top 3 Performing Sectors
Russell 3000 Sector
Weekly Price Change
Month-to-Date Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is Jan. 20-Jan. 27. Monthly price change is Dec. 30-Jan. 27.
There's no secret to why Solutia
Hey, hang on a second! We're not done with deal-making yet. Genetic specialist Illumina
Top 3 Performing Russell 3000 Companies
Weekly Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is Jan. 20-Jan. 27. Includes only companies with a market cap of $250 million or higher.
Also among the week's top performers were Micromet
And then, of course, there's Netflix. What can I really say about Netflix at this point? Well, I could repeat the promise that I made when I was writing about Netflix's post-earnings spike -- that investors had better be ready for a wild ride. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Backing up the truck a bit, it was a blowout fourth quarter, and the resumption of subscriber growth for the company helped power a nearly 24% jump for the week. Less than one month into the new year, Netflix's shares are now up -- are you ready for this? -- 79%. That'll give you a smile that's tough to wipe off.
That's it for this week's top-performers recap. If you're looking for some ideas for strong outperformers for the rest of year, The Motley Fool has created a brand new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access by clicking here -- it's free.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer has no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter, @KoppTheFool, or on Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.