10 Best S&P 500 Stocks This Year

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Netflix's (NFLX) stock has nearly doubled this year on the back of strong subscriber growth, expansion into new international markets and the growing popularity of streaming services. The streaming subscription service's stock handily beat out other well-performing S&P 500 stocks for the first six months of 2015.

The S&P 500 Index is up 0.2% this year. Stocks have been rattled this week following Greece's impending default, so it wouldn't be hard for a stock to outperform the broad index. That said, some stocks had big wins in the first half of the year. We took a closer look at the top 10 in the S&P 500 and paired them with TheStreet Ratings to let you know if they're still a good buy after a great first-half run.

TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool, projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 16.56% return in 2014 beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Check out which stocks were among the best S&P 500 performers to date. and when you're done be sure to check out the worst S&P 500 stocks to date. 


KRFT ChartKRFT data by YCharts
10. Kraft Foods Group Inc. (KRFT)
Industry: Consumer Non-Discretionary/Packaged Foods & Meats
Market Cap: $50.4 billion
Rating: Hold, C
Year-to-date return: 35.9%

Kraft Foods Group, Inc. operates as a consumer packaged food and beverage company. It operates through six segments: Cheese, Refrigerated Meals, Beverages, Meals & Desserts, Enhancers & Snack Nuts, and Canada.

TheStreet said: "We rate KRAFT FOODS GROUP INC (KRFT) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and premium valuation."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $334.00 million or 33.06% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, KRAFT FOODS GROUP INC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 81.00%.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, KRFT has outperformed against the industry average of 10.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, KRFT's share price has jumped by 45.88%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Looking ahead, however, we cannot assume that the stock's past performance is going to drive future results. Quite to the contrary, its sharp appreciation over the last year is one of the factors that should prompt investors to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Food Products industry average. The net income has decreased by 16.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $513.00 million to $429.00 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.22 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.49, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

 


HAS ChartHAS data by YCharts
9. Hasbro Inc. (HAS)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Leisure Products
Market Cap: $9.3 billion
Rating: Buy, B
Year-to-date return: 36%

Hasbro, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides children's and family leisure time products and services worldwide.

TheStreet said: "We rate HASBRO INC (HAS) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, HAS's share price has jumped by 44.11%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.0%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $315.28 million or 30.25% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -18.10%.
  • The gross profit margin for HASBRO INC is rather high; currently it is at 58.44%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 3.73% trails the industry average.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. In comparison to other companies in the Leisure Equipment & Products industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, HASBRO INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: HAS Ratings Report

ALTR ChartALTR data by YCharts
8. Altera Corp.  (ALTR)
Industry: Technology/Semiconductors 
Market Cap: $15.5 billion
Rating: Buy, B
Year-to-date return: 38.6%

Altera Corporation, a semiconductor company, designs and sells programmable logic devices (PLDs), HardCopy application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) devices, power system-on-chip devices (PowerSoCs), pre defined design building blocks, and associated development tools.

TheStreet said: "We rate ALTERA CORP (ALTR) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, ALTR's share price has jumped by 47.73%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, ALTR should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.45, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.41, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $136.63 million or 4.75% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, ALTERA CORP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 28.23%.
  • The gross profit margin for ALTERA CORP is rather high; currently it is at 67.05%. Regardless of ALTR's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ALTR's net profit margin of 21.78% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • ALTR, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 5.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.5%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.


AMZN ChartAMZN data by YCharts
7. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Internet Retail
Market Cap: $202.1 billion
Rating: Hold, C
Year-to-date return: 39.9%

Amazon.com, Inc. operates as an online retailer in North America and internationally. It operates in two segments, North America and International.

TheStreet said: "We rate AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, robust revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, AMZN's share price has jumped by 31.40%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Although AMZN had significant growth over the past year, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock at the current time.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 18.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$1,499.00 million or 40.08% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, AMAZON.COM INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 40.75%.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Internet & Catalog Retail industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 152.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $108.00 million to -$57.00 million.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, AMAZON.COM INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

 


EA ChartEA data by YCharts
6. Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)
Industry: Technology/Home Entertainment Software
Market Cap: $20.9 billion
Rating: Buy, A-
Year-to-date return: 41.4%

Electronic Arts Inc. develops, markets, publishes, and distributes game software content and online services for video game consoles, Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones, and tablets worldwide. The company operates through EA Studios, EA Mobile, and Maxis divisions.

TheStreet said: "We rate ELECTRONIC ARTS INC (EA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 7.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • EA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.21 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.23, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Software industry and the overall market, ELECTRONIC ARTS INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 75.69% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, EA should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Software industry. The net income increased by 7.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $367.00 million to $395.00 million.

 


SWKS ChartSWKS data by YCharts
5. Skyworks Solutions Inc. (SWKS)
Industry: Technology/Semiconductors
Market Cap: $19.9 billion
Rating: Buy, A+
Year-to-date return: 43.2%

Skyworks Solutions, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, manufactures, and markets analog and mixed signal semiconductors worldwide.

TheStreet said: "We rate SKYWORKS SOLUTIONS INC (SWKS) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • SWKS's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 58.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • SWKS has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.46, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, SKYWORKS SOLUTIONS INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for SKYWORKS SOLUTIONS INC is rather high; currently it is at 51.31%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 21.84% is above that of the industry average.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 112.50% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 131.39% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, SWKS should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.

AET ChartAET data by YCharts
4. Aetna Inc. (AET)
Industry: Health Care/Managed Health Care
Market Cap: $44.5 billion
Rating: Buy, A+
Year-to-date return: 43.5%

Aetna Inc. operates as a health care benefits company in the United States. It operates through three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance, and Large Case Pensions.

TheStreet said: "We rate AETNA INC (AET) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth and attractive valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 53.74% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, AET should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • AETNA INC has improved earnings per share by 20.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AETNA INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.66 versus $5.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.40 versus $5.66).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Health Care Providers & Services industry average. The net income increased by 16.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $665.50 million to $777.50 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 13.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.

 

 


HSP ChartHSP data by YCharts
3. Hospira Inc. (HSP)
Industry: Health Care/Pharmaceuticals
Market Cap: $15.3 billion
Rating: Buy, B
Year-to-date return: 44.8%

Hospira, Inc. provides injectable drugs and infusion technologies to develop, manufacture, distribute, and market products worldwide. The company operates through Americas, EMEA, and APAC segments.

TheStreet said: "We rate HOSPIRA INC (HSP) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.51, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.20, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • HOSPIRA INC has improved earnings per share by 7.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, HOSPIRA INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.95 versus -$0.05 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.02 versus $1.95).
  • The gross profit margin for HOSPIRA INC is rather high; currently it is at 50.30%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, HSP's net profit margin of 6.43% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 72.25% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.

 


CI ChartCI data by YCharts
2. Cigna Corp. (CI)
Industry: Health Care/Managed Health Care
Market Cap: $4.8 billion
Rating: Buy, A+
Year-to-date return: 57.4%

Cigna Corporation, a health services organization, provides insurance and related products and services in the United States and internationally.

TheStreet said: "We rate CIGNA CORP (CI) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 13.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.55, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Health Care Providers & Services industry and the overall market, CIGNA CORP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 72.67% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, CI should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • CIGNA CORP has improved earnings per share by 6.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, CIGNA CORP increased its bottom line by earning $7.82 versus $5.20 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.54 versus $7.82).

 

 


NFLX ChartNFLX data by YCharts
1. Netflix Inc. (NFLX)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Internet Retail
Market Cap: $39.8 billion
Rating: Hold, C+
Year-to-date return: 92.3%

Netflix, Inc., an Internet television network, engages in the Internet delivery of TV shows and movies directly on TVs, computers, and mobile devices in the United States and internationally. The company operates in three segments: Domestic Streaming, International Streaming, and Domestic DVD.

TheStreet said: "We rate NETFLIX INC (NFLX) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, generally higher debt management risk and premium valuation."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • NFLX's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 18.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.9%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for NETFLIX INC is currently very high, coming in at 83.44%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 1.50% is above that of the industry average.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NETFLIX INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$127.38 million or 450.34% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

 

 

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