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10 Best-Performing S&P 500 Stocks so Far in 2012

Updated with Bruce Berkowitz's comments on Bank of America

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- The top 10 performers in the benchmark S&P 500 so far this year aren't easy to characterize. They range from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) to Bank of America (BAC).

The S&P 500 gained 4.4% in January, the biggest increase for that month in 15 years, helped by signs the European sovereign debt crisis, a cloud over the markets last year, might be coming to a resolution soon. And, perhaps secondarily, the Federal Reserve said it would remain active in boosting the economy and keep inflation in check.

The top 10 companies in the S&P 500 in January had share gains that were clustered in the 27% to 39% range, with DVD and digital entertainment deliverer Netflix (NFLX) the outlier with a whopping 77% jump.

Still, if you look back to the end of 2010, many of these stocks are still in the hole, so a month or so of increases doesn't wipe that out.

In inverse order of return, here are the S&P 500's 10 best-performing stocks of January with their performance for the month:

10. CA (CA)

Performance: up 26%

Company profile: CA is one of the largest independent providers of IT management software. Revenue from its core mainframe segment represents about 60% of total sales.

Investor takeaway: Shares jumped late in January after the company reported third-quarter earnings rose 32% and announced plans to raise its annual dividend five-fold to $1.

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