The best thing about dipping our toes into the third quarter is that we can now relish the amazing run the equity markets had during the second quarter. Mutual funds will enjoy updating their trailing performances. Investors who are long the market will not open their brokerage statements with dread.

Among the major indices, the real action took place in the tech-stacked secondary markets. The Nasdaq Composite's 20% gain during the quarter nearly doubled the 11% return for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The biggest winners were all over the map, so let's take a look at the quarter's biggest gainers within the Nasdaq 100.



Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN)


Seagate (NASDAQ:STX)


Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LINTA)


Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)




You may be surprised to find a casino operator at the top of a tech-heavy index, but Wynn Resorts was beaten down so badly that it is still trading well below its 52-week high. Most of the leveraged casino giants took it on the chin during last year's meltdown, and it's only natural for the house to win a few hands for a change.

Hard-drive maker Seagate falls into the same turnaround mold, and it's winning over nonbelievers. It will probably post a significant loss for the fiscal year that ended last week, but the near-term outlook keeps improving. Analysts see Seagate earning $0.72 a share in the brand new fiscal year. Three months ago, Wall Street was targeting a loss of $0.17 a share out of Seagate in fiscal 2010.

Liberty Media is richer by association with its sister company. John Malone's Liberty Capital (NASDAQ:LCAPA) made a timely investment in Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) when the satellite-radio operator was on the ropes in the first quarter. Liberty Capital wound up with a juicy 40% stake in Sirius XM, just for the benefit of lending it money with a healthy 15% interest rate. Then again, since Malone's Liberty Media stock bottomed out at less than $2, it's only natural for the stock to come along for the ride as the media mogul pieces his empire together.

Intuitive Surgical is revolutionizing the operating room with its robotic surgical arms. The stock's run comes at a time when the medical-technology specialist is feeling surprisingly human. It sold fewer systems during the first quarter than it did a year ago.

Baidu is China's leading search engine, but it simply bounced back after being pounded toward the end of 2008. Both Intuitive Surgical and Baidu are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Their stock gains are certainly welcome, though neither company is growing at the same heady pace it was when it was originally inducted into the Nasdaq 100.

Is there a common theme among the five companies? With the exception of Baidu, they continue to trade well below their 52-week highs. All five are projected to improve their bottom lines substantially in 2010, so investors may be angling to be fashionably early.

With plenty of room to run before revisiting their all-time highs, don't be surprised if a few of these winners find a way to top the third-quarter lists as well.

Other headlines to read before the shopping trip:

Baidu and Intuitive Surgical are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders whether there's a hazing process associated with being added to the Nasdaq 100. He owns shares of Intuitive Surgical and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.