Slideshow: The Top 10 'Highs & Dives' Of S&P 500 Stocks In 2013

2013 is nearly done and gone. And what a great year for stocks -- possibly the best for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index since 2003. The big-cap index was up 24.5 percent after Thursday's close.

The gain is were matched by just about all major indexes. The Dow Jones industrials were up 20.1 percent with Thursday's close, its best performance since 2003; the Nasdaq Composite Index is up 32.4 percent, potentially its best year since jumping 43.9 percent in 2009.

It shouldn't surprise that, with fewer than three weeks left of trading, nearly 450 S&P 500 stocks are higher for the year. Eight are up more than 100 percent, an additional four are up nearly 100 percent.

Enjoy the results. History suggests it will be difficult for stocks to produce the same results in 2014 -- although stocks did rise 20 percent a year or more between 1995 and 1999. If the economy continues to grow and the bond market doesn’t panic when the Federal Reserve starts to dial back its bond buying, 2014 could be a decent year.

So, what do we know about the top 10 S&P 500 stocks?

Their gains were mostly not the result of the Federal Reserve's keeping interest rates at ultra-low levels. The stocks went up because the companies excited investors about their growth prospects. Or they drew in money because they had survived the 2008-2009 crash (or beyond) and, more importantly, looked to be finding their way again.

Here is a look at those 10 stocks.

Note: Pricing data for this article is as of Thursday, December 12, 2013.

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