Some of 2013's Best Performing Stocks Look Good for 2014
We're charging ahead in the new year -- but let's not forget how the down European market and political uncertainty in the United States caused a considerable amount of hesitancy, if not downright fear, on Wall Street in 2013.
Performance was erratic for much of last year, with the market rallying in the final months. But 2013 will also be remembered for some of the biggest market swings in recent memory. At the same time, many investors enjoyed considerable gains, particularly during the last quarter. With all that in mind, here are some of the strongest performing stocks for 2013 -- that are well worth looking into this year.
Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG)
Generally speaking, biotech stocks are usually among the strongest performers, so Celgene's inclusion on this list should not come as any real surprise. The company makes drug treatments for cancer and inflammatory disorders which are typically high-margin and therefore very profitable. Analysts on Wall Street were abuzz about Celgene in early 2012, and that has carried all the way through to the end of 2013. The company's product line, which features a number of new cancer and blood disorder treatments, are only expected to keep that buzz loud and consistent in 2014. And those who held the stock in early 2013, and were wise enough to hold, have seen their investment double.
Marathon Petroleum (NYSE: MPC)
The value of Marathon Petroleum shares has doubled over 2012, following its breaking away from hydrocarbon leader Marathon Oil in late 2011. The crude-oil refining sector has seen a drop in input costs among refiners, but solid prices at the pump have been keeping profit margins high. While not as high currently as they were a year ago, Marathon Petroleum's margins are more impressive to some market analysts than others. This has caused the excitement surrounding the company to wane a bit. Still, 2014 is expected to be a big year for the refiner based on a strong performance and particularly strong finish in 2013. Besides, the stock is up 36 percent on the year.
Safeway (NYSE: SWY)
This U.S. and Canadian grocery store chain sells its products at low margins, which caused investors to look elsewhere in the market throughout 2012. But the company posted very strong earning in February of 2013 that exceeded analyst expectations and consequently surprised investors. Safeway recently implemented a gift-card operation which has added to the buzz that has been growing on Wall Street about this suddenly up-and-coming stock. The stock started 2013 at $18.36, and closed out the year up about $14.00.
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX)
Since the company's founding in 1997, Netflix has built itself into one of the most recognizable and profitable brands in the on-demand streaming media market. The success of this industry leader has allowed for fast and aggressive expansion, particularly into international markets. That success, however, also led to an increase in competition -- which caused a significant slowdown in growth during 2011 and 2012 despite hitting an all-time high stock price of almost $300 around the mid-point of 2011.
The value of Netflix stock doubled during the first quarter of 2013 and the company has plans to continue its expansion internationally, which experts predict will lead to significant future gains. With a stock price that traded at about $95.00 on the first trading day of 2013, Netflix ended the year at over $370 per share – making it one of the best overall stock picks for 2013.
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