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Some stocks have soared now that the US is doing better

By Dian Vujovich

A few days ago I pointed out how stocks in the DJIA have performed so far this year. Taking a broader view, here’s a far more dazzling snapshot. But first, a comment.

Last week President Obama made mention to how things in the US were getting better. Ever since his State of the Union address, I’ve heard more than one professional and/or talking head say the same thing. That’s as refreshing to hear as it is to see big gains in the market.

So, if you’re a Russell 3000 fan—that index is made up of about 98 percent of all US equities—you’ll find the index up over 5 percent so far this year, according to the Bespoke Investment Group. But decide to focus on the top 30 stocks in that index and you’ll find returns far yummier.

The top five performers in that index, for instance, have year-to-date total returns ranging from gains of over 81 percent to 131 percent. Yes, those are year-to-date performance numbers.

Four of the top five companies are in the Health Care sector. At the top of the heap is Inhibitex (INHX), up over 131 percent so far and trading in $25 a share range. Next, Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD), it’s trading around $6.50 and up 88.37 percent. Following it, Indenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX), up 87.11 percent with shares trading right under 14 bucks a share. Shares of Dendreon Corp (DNDN), selling at around 14.23 per share, are up 86.97 percent.

The one non-Health Care stock in this group is Netflix (NFLX). Classified by Russell under the Consumer Discretional heading, it’s by far the priciest of the top performers trading around $126 a share with a year-to-date recognized gain at that price of 81.5 percent.

Amazingly, the average gain of the top 30 stocks in that index is over 50 percent.

Interestingly, the per-share price range of them varies from stocks trading under 2 bucks a share to one over $120. The inexpensive stocks include Eagle Bulk Shipping (EGLE) trading at 1.49 and up 57.21 percent; USEC Inc (USU) at $1.74 per share up thus far 52.63 percent; and Smith Micro Software, up over 67 percent trading around $1.88 per share.

On the high end are these three: The already mentioned Netflix at $126, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) ahead well over 58 percent and trading around $88.05 and IPG Photonics Copy (IPGP) up 52.64 percent at $51.65.

Of the 30 stocks, 13 are in the Health Care sector.

Of course it’s anybody’s guess as to what the remaining 11 months of this year will bring for equities particularly since the CBO just released data today projecting that our budget deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion this year and the jobless rate rise to 8.9 percent by the end of the year, and, to 9.2 percent in 2013. But, for the moment, it certainly is refreshing to hear of delightfully strong stock returns no matter what.

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