You've heard of the "January Effect," when investors sell stocks in December for tax reasons, only to buy them back in January, causing their price to jump.

All year long we look at stocks that also do better in other months. Retailers, for example, perform better in some seasons simply because of the nature of the business. Some stocks actually do best in January, despite the window dressing going on. Whatever the reason, investing based solely on the calendar is certainly not a Foolish strategy.

Still, wouldn't it be great to know ahead of time which stocks performed best at what times?

On Motley Fool CAPS, more than 125,000 members have weighed in on about 5,400 stocks, awarding five-star ratings to the companies that most command their confidence. We've paired their opinions with data going as far back as five years to see which stocks perform best in each month. The following five companies seem to do best in January:


Market Cap

Avg. % Return-January

Avg. % Return-Rest of Year

CAPS Rating (out of 5 max)

LTM Return


$317.2 million






$363.1 million






$354.1 million





Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN)

$2.7 billion





Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS)

$2.0 billion





Sources: America Online and Motley Fool CAPS. LTM = last 12 months.

What has made upscale department store chain Nordstrom a better performer in January compared with the rest of the year? Considering rival Macy's (NYSE:M) does better in December, it's one reason why we don't recommend simply using this as a list of stocks to buy or sell -- just a platform for further research. We need to look closer for the reason, but Nordstrom's two-star CAPS ratings suggests investors think it may belong in the discount rack. Yet if these companies have really resolved to do better in January, let's see if some of them might live up to that promise.

Not a good bet?
Did casino operator Las Vegas Sands go all in with an early position in Macau only to be caught short? As the one place in China where you can gamble legally, Macau was the table with all the action. Las Vegas Sands had ambitious plans for the island oasis, but got caught not only by the credit crunch, which brought it close to default back in November, but also by visa restrictions limiting the number of gamblers who could visit its properties. Whereas rival Melco Crown Entertainment (NASDAQ:MPEL) actually supported the limits on visas, Las Vegas Sands opposed them and has since postponed further development of its properties there. Instead, it will open its newest gaming hotel in Singapore.

Investors seem split on whether to double down with Las Vegas Sands. For example, CAPS member rweir02 says the casino operator will turn around.

This is a high end casino that is simply suffering because they do not get as much action due to the current economic crisis. They get a heavy inflow of clients from other countries that are also hurt from the economic crisis, namely China, the middle east, and India. Once things turn for the better, so will this stock

Across the table is hlabrey, who writes that Las Vegas Sands has bet all on black but is about to come up red.

I'll Bet you in the very near future this casino is heading straight down the chapter 11 toilet. This is a "sure thing bet" without any house advantage or [vigorish]. Can you say "BRINGING THE HOUSE DOWN!"

Don't tase me, bro!
Because of some high-profile incidents, the less-than-lethal stun guns produced by TASER remain controversial. Yet they remain an effective tool for law enforcement in controlling dangerous individuals, so CAPS member GRIFFIEGUN feels they're here to stay.

i [believe TASER] will stay with the police people to keep the [peace] even better than they are today ... our crime rate is going sky high …

A calming effect
It pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made -- all from a stock's CAPS page. Your opinion affects these stocks' ratings, whatever month it is. Because it's free to sign up and express yourself, why not use this opportunity to take your star turn?

Melco Crown Entertainment and GigaMedia are Motley Fool Global Gains picks. TASER International and GigaMedia are Rule Breakers selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.