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10 Best-Performing S&P 500 Stocks of 2011

To add Ross Stores fourth-quarter guidance.

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The 2011 top performers on the S&P 500 Index of the largest U.S. stocks is an eclectic group, but two oil and gas companies are far and away the biggest winners, with gains of at least 81%.

The best-performing shares are worth a hard look from investors, since they've put up returns of at least 46% this year while swimming against a powerful current. Investors have fled stocks to move into bonds and even money market accounts, and turned their backs on anything that carriers risk.

As evidence of that, 288 of the S&P 500 member companies have handed investors losses this year.

International crises, especially the eurozone's debt debacle, have scared off U.S. investors, contributing to the market's volatility as many jumped in and out of the market in reaction to the latest, often dramatic, headlines.

As a result, the S&P 500 has been on a roller coaster this year, bottoming at 1,100 on Oct. 3, then rebounding 14% by the first week of December, including a surge of 7.4% between Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, the biggest weekly advance since 2009. But it's now down 1.4% on the year with two weeks to go.

In inverse order of return, here are the S&P 500's 10 best-performing stocks of 2011:

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