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.


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