This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

10 Best-Performing S&P 500 Stocks of 2012

Stocks in this article: BAC SHLD AAPL NFLX PCLN

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The top 10 performers on the benchmark S&P 500 so far this year include some of the worst stocks of 2011.

Sears (SHLD), Bank of America (BAC) and Netflix (NFLX) are among those with the biggest increases in 2012, in contrast to last year, when they plunged between 55% and 61%.

The benchmark is up 12%, driven by an improvement in the U.S. economy and increased efforts to solve Europe's debt crisis. In addition, the potential for new monetary stimulus is still on the table based on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech last week.

With such a solid run in the first quarter of 2012, which came after a 11.4% increase in the S&P 500 in the last quarter of 2011, many investors are nervous that a pullback is in the cards. Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, says the opposite is more likely.

"Since 1945, in the eight times the S&P 500 was up 10% or more in Q1, it gained another 3.3%, on average, in Q2," he says.

The 10 best-performing components of the S&P 500 so far this year have gained between 50% and 117%, topped by Sears. Unlike that department-store chain, high-fliers such as (PCLN) and (CRM) rose last year -- and keep moving up.

In the reverse order of performance, here are the S&P 500's 10 best-performing stocks in 2012:

10. Pulte Group (PHM)

Performance: up 50.2% (up 26.0% from year-end 2010)

Company profile: Homebuilder with a presence in 28 states, mostly in the East, Gulf Coast, Central and West regions of the U.S.

Investor takeaway: PulteGroup has benefitted from the improvement in the housing market, which seems to be bouncing along the bottom. Expectations for a solid spring selling season as the economy improves have also played a factor in the more recent performance of the stock.

Selling, general and administrative costs at the company are lower than they are at other homebuilders. The company significantly reduced debt in the fourth quarter and now has about $1.2 billion in cash as a cushion.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

1 of 6

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs