Momentum investing is quite different from many of the strategies typically employed by long-term investors. In momentum trading, the goal isn't to buy a stock at an attractive valuation but to buy stocks that have already considerably gone up to take advantage of the "momentum" in their business -- and in their stock price.

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Investors should be aware that there is no single definition of momentum investing. This is especially true when it comes to time periods. For example, short-term traders often define a stock's momentum as its price change over the past 10 days. Momentum traders tend to pay attention to data such as trading volume and like to use technical indicators like moving averages to assess where a stock might go in the short term and guide their strategy.

Generally, they look for stocks that are trading above their moving averages as a sign that they will continue moving higher. Alternatively, short-sellers look to capitalize on a stock that's on a downward trend. Momentum investing can also be a popular strategy among professional investors such as hedge funds.

Five great momentum stocks to put on your radar

Five momentum stocks

Now that the S&P 500 is in a bull market once again and the S&P, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq have all reached new highs in 2024, it could be an exciting time to be a momentum investor. While there's no way to time the market or know what stocks will gain momentum at any given time, there are some interesting opportunities for patient momentum stock investors. Keep reading to see five momentum stocks that have already delivered strong results for investors and could continue to outperform.

Momentum Trading

Momentum Trading involves capitalizing on short-term price trends by buying assets with recent strong performance, aiming for quick gains.


1. Nvidia

Nvidia (NVDA -1.99%) is perhaps the most notable momentum stock in the market as of April 2024. Not only did it deliver a 58% gain for investors through mid-April, but the company more than tripled over the past year. It is a massive company with an almost $2 trillion market cap.

It isn't hard to see why Nvidia has performed so well this year. It is (by far) the leading maker of graphics processing units (GPUs), which are instrumental in many applications of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, especially on the data center side of the business. The surge in AI investment has trickled down to businesses in all industries and of all sizes, and Nvidia is a clear beneficiary.

In 2023, Nvidia's revenue grew by 126% year over year, and net income was almost six times what it was in 2022 (when the business was already very large and impressive). The company has enormous financial flexibility to continue to invest in growth and innovation, and with the rapid evolution of AI and other GPU-dependent technologies, Nvidia could potentially outperform the market for years to come.

Meta Platforms

2. Meta Platforms

Meta Platforms (META -0.28%) is best known for its Facebook social media platform, but it is also the parent company of Instagram and metaverse technology business Reality Labs. Year to date, Meta Platforms has been one of the best-performing mega-cap stocks, gaining 35% in less than four months.

Meta's social media platforms have almost 4 billion monthly active users worldwide and have a massive presence in the digital advertising industry, where the company makes most of its money. It has a dominant 75% share of social network ad spending and roughly one-fifth of all digital ad spending in the United States. Plus, the business has been (successfully) leveraging AI technology to improve engagement and content personalization.

In 2023, Meta's operating income grew by 62% year over year thanks to double-digit revenue growth and impressive margin expansion. The business generated $43 billion in free cash flow last year, giving it plenty of financial flexibility to return capital to shareholders or pursue attractive opportunities as they arise.


3. Robinhood

It wasn't too long ago that investors started to lose faith in Robinhood (HOOD 12.23%) after trust issues with the platform developed among retail investors during the meme stock frenzy. However, the company has done an excellent job of moving forward, and investors were the beneficiaries of a 32% gain through mid-April 2024.

Robinhood is best known for its innovative no-fee brokerage approach, which can be credited with ultimately causing the entire online brokerage industry to drop commissions on stock trades. Today, Robinhood offers free stock, options, and cryptocurrency trading, and has done a great job of moving beyond its trader-focused or "gamification" reputation with features like individual retirement accounts, debit and credit cards, and a high yield on cash balances. The Robinhood Gold subscription product also packs a lot of value for $5 per month and is becoming a big revenue driver, and still has massive potential.

Kinsale Capital Group

4. Kinsale Capital Group

Kinsale Capital Group (NASDAQ:KNSL) isn't a household name, but after reading about the momentum in its business, you might want to put it on your radar.

If you aren't familiar with its business, Kinsale is an insurance company. Instead of providing coverage for everyday Americans, however, the company specializes in the unusual. Kinsale is a specialty insurer, focusing on property and casualty insurance for high-risk businesses and situations where it's difficult to accurately estimate risk of loss. For example, many traditional liability insurers wouldn't provide coverage for a demolition business; Kinsale would.

One big takeaway is that specialty insurance can be highly profitable for companies that are as good at it as Kinsale. Its underwriting margin has averaged almost 20% over the past three years (most insurers are happy if this metric is in the low single digits). Kinsale is the only publicly traded pure play on specialty insurance and has lots of room to grow. This is a highly fragmented industry, and Kinsale makes up a little more than 1% of the market today.

Kinsale had delivered a 36% gain year to date as of mid-April, but its momentum has essentially been going strong since its 2016 initial public offering (IPO). In all, it has delivered a 2,460% total return (more than 50% annualized) due to its incredible profitability and strong growth. In fact, in its worst year since going public, Kinsale still managed a 10% gain for investors.

Sea Limited

5. Sea Limited

Southeast Asia-based Sea Limited (SE 3.25%) pulled a lot of growth forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. Business then slowed considerably, causing the stock to retreat from its all-time highs before it found momentum again, with a 46% gain barely four months into 2024.

Sea has three different business lines. It has a gaming platform (Garena), an e-commerce platform (Shopee), and a digital payments platform (SeaMoney). You'll find the most momentum with Shopee and SeaMoney. In 2023, SeaMoney's e-commerce revenue grew by 23% year over year, and financial services revenue increased 44%. Shopee saw 46% more orders in the fourth quarter than in the same period in 2022, and despite the rapid growth in SeaMoney, loan quality remained stable.

SeaMoney ended 2023 with $8.5 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet, giving it plenty of financial flexibility to invest in its business as it sees fit. If it can continue to grow its e-commerce and financial services businesses, the stock's momentum could last for a long time.

Related investing topics

Momentum stocks can be a good investment

Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns, but it is often a good indicator of positive trends in a business, which can certainly lead to superior returns over time. Plus, bull markets can be a great opportunity to take advantage of strong momentum in excellent, well-run businesses. If you’re looking for stocks that can thrive in the new bull market, this list represents a good starting point.


Momentum stocks FAQ

What are the top momentum stocks?

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The top momentum stocks are those that have recently outperformed the S&P 500 and have excellent fundamentals in their underlying businesses. Strong growth, improving profitability, and an expanding market opportunity are just a few examples of factors to consider.

How do I find momentum stocks?

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The first step to finding momentum stocks is to screen for companies that have recently outperformed the S&P 500 by a significant margin. Then, take a closer look at each stock to figure out why they have performed so well, and whether there's still upside potential if the company continues to execute on its strategy.

Is momentum investing good?

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Momentum investing can be a great way to identify opportunities, but like any other investment strategy, it isn't perfect. Just because a stock has recently outperformed the market doesn't mean it will continue to do so. That's why it's important to not only buy stocks with recent momentum, but also those w durable competitive advantages and massive market opportunities, so they make excellent long-term investments as well.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Matt Frankel has positions in Sea Limited. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Meta Platforms, Nvidia, and Sea Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.