Market Overview

Stocks Close Out Stellar Quarter on High Note; A Look at Top Performers


Friday is the last trading session of what has turned out to be an excellent quarter for the U.S. stock market. Nearing the close of trading, the Dow and S&P had logged moderate gains while the Nasdaq composite was down slightly. The Dow had gained 63 points and was trading at 13,209 while the S&P was up a little less than 6 points to 1,409. Due in part to a 1.53% loss in Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares, the Nasdaq was last trading down less than a point at 3,095.

For the quarter, the Dow has added better than 8% while the S&P was up 12%. The Nasdaq has outpaced both the Dow and S&P with a gain of nearly 19% for the quarter. A wide variety of stocks have contributed to the gains, which are the best since the third quarter of 2009.

In particular, financial stocks have rallied sharply in the wake of easing concerns over the European debt crisis. Two of the best performing financials have been Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), which has rallied nearly 72% and was last trading at $9.55, and Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) which has added 52% to $6.54 since January 1.

Technology has also been a very strong performer over the last 3 months, led by stocks such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD), Level 3 Communications (NYSE: LVLT), Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ: SWKS), (NYSE: CRM), LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD), and Seagate Technology (NYSE: STX).

In addition, Apple has been one of the best performers year-to-date, with a gain of more than 48% to $600. Other notable names that have been surging in 2012, include retailer Lululemon (NASDAQ: LULU), which has added more than 60%, (NASDAQ: PCLN), which is up almost 54% to $719.58, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: REGN), which have surged nearly 111% since the beginning of the year.

More top performers for the first quarter are listed below.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN) +119%

Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX) +55.67%

Fossil, Inc. (NASDAQ: FOSL) +67%

Michael Kors (NASDAQ: KORS) +71%

Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE: LGF) +67.43%

Medivation (NASDAQ: MDVN) +63%

Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD) +108.87%

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) +66%

NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ: NXPI) +73.65%

Terex (NYSE: TEX) +66.4%

Textron (NYSE: TXT) +51%

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) +129%

Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR) +61.77%


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