Editors' Pick: Originally Published Wednesday, Dec. 16.

A lot has happened in the year and change since the U.S. Federal Reserve brought an end to its quantitative easing program. In QE's wake, stock market investing has gotten a bit hairier -- but there are still winners out there.

On Oct. 29, 2014, exactly 85 years after the New York Stock Exchange crash set off the Great Depression, the Federal Open Market Committee announced that it would conclude its nearly six-year bond-buying endeavor during which it spent trillions of dollars in an effort to jumpstart the U.S. economy.

"The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of its current asset purchase program," the Fed announced in a press release. "Moreover, the Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability."

Late-summer market instability, unease over falling oil prices and the anticipation of the Fed's decision to raise the federal funds rate for the first time since cutting it to near-zero in 2008, among other factors, have translated to a market that has been a bit trickier for investors to maneuver in a post-QE environment.

During rounds one, two and three of quantitative easing, which took place from November 2008 to October 2014, the S&P 500 index climbed more than 130%. But since QE came to an end through market close Tuesday, the benchmark index has returned just over 3%.

Other Rising Rates Stories

Some stocks have really struggled, especially in the energy arena (unsurprising given oil's plunge). The share prices of Southwestern Energy (SWN - Get Report) , Chesapeake Energy (CHK - Get Report) and Consol Energy (CNX - Get Report) have plummeted more than 80%. Other big post-QE losers include Freeport McMoRan (FCX - Get Report) , NRG Energy (NRG - Get Report) and Range Resources (RRC - Get Report) .

Other stocks have flourished in an environment sans quantitative easing. Here are the 10 best-performing public companies of the S&P 500 from QE's end through market close Tuesday. Note that one -- Netflix -- was one of the 10 top performers during QE, too.

Amazon

E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN - Get Report)  has flourished post-QE, climbing 123.9% through market close Tuesday.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Amazon.com as a hold with a ratings score of C. 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 compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Internet & Catalog Retail industry average. The net income increased by 118.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$437.00 million to $79.00 million.
  • Amazon.com's revenue growth trails the industry average of 38.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Amazon.com reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Amazon.com swung to a loss, reporting -$0.54 versus $0.58 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.89 versus -$0.54).
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 117.89% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 116.55% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. 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 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, Amazon.com underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMZN


Netflix

Netflix (NFLX - Get Report)  has climbed 119.6% in the wake of quantitative easing and did quite well during QE as well, climbing 1648.0%.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Netflix as a Hold with a ratings score of C. 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 expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, Netflix's share price has jumped by 157.34%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Although Netflix 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.
  • Netflix's revenue growth trails the industry average of 38.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.3%. 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 is currently very high, coming in at 84.59%. 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 1.69% trails the industry average.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, Netflix's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$195.97 million or 423.43% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: NFLX


Activision Blizzard

In the wake of quantitative easing, Activision Blizzard (ATVI - Get Report)  gained 103.3%.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Activision Blizzard as a Buy with a ratings score of A. 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, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 15.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 31.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 666.66% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 87.31% 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, Activision Blizzard should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • Activision Blizzard reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, Activision Blizzard increased its bottom line by earning $1.14 versus $0.95 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.36 versus $1.14).
  • 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 652.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$23.00 million to $127.00 million.
  • 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 Software industry and the overall market, Activision Blizzard's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ATVI


Electronic Arts

Game software content and services provider Electronic Arts (EA - Get Report)  has rallied 85.9% since the Fed concluded its QE program. 

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Electronic Arts as a buy with a ratings score of B-. This is driven by multiple 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. 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 include:

  • EA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.14 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 1.32, 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' return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, EA's share price has jumped by 48.27%, 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, EA should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • Electronic Arts has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Electronic Arts turned its bottom line around by earning $2.68 versus -$0.03 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.10 versus $2.68).
  • EA, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 15.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 17.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: EA


Nvidia

Nvidia (NVDA - Get Report)  has gained 75.3% since late October 2014. 

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Nvidia as a buy with a ratings score of A+. 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, reasonable valuation levels, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.32, 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 6.16, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 41.93% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 62.70% 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, Nvidia 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 Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry. The net income increased by 42.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $172.97 million to $246.00 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: NVDA


Total System Services

Payments company Total System Services (TSS - Get Report)  has returned 71.4% since QE ended in the United States.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Total System Services as a buy with a ratings score of A+. 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, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 27.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.76, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. To add to this, TSS has a quick ratio of 2.40, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 47.72% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 71.42% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. 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.
  • Total System Services has improved earnings per share by 47.7% 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, Total System Services increased its bottom line by earning $1.46 versus $1.27 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.46 versus $1.46).
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $175.26 million or 16.31% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -11.25%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: TSS


Avago Technologies

Avago Technologies (AVGO - Get Report)  has climbed 68.8% post-QE.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Avago Technologies as a buy with a ratings score of A+. 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, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 228.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 48.44% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. 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.
  • Avago Technologies reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, Avago Technologies increased its bottom line by earning $4.90 versus $1.16 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($9.68 versus $4.90).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry. The net income increased by 217.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $135.00 million to $429.00 million.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, Avago Technologies' return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AVGO


Expedia

Online travel giant Expedia (EXPE - Get Report)  has gained 63.4% since quantitative easing came to an end in 2014. 

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Expedia as a buy with a ratings score of A-. 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, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

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 43.09% 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, Expedia should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • Expedia has improved earnings per share by 9.3% 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, Expedia increased its bottom line by earning $3.00 versus $1.66 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.10 versus $3.00).
  • Expedia's revenue growth trails the industry average of 38.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, Expedia's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: EXPE


Cablevision Systems

In the wake of QE, Cablevision Systems (CVC)  has returned 60.9% through market close Tuesday.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Cablevision Systems as a Hold with a ratings score of C. 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, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $335.78 million or 4.51% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, Cablevision Systems' average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 8.14%.
  • The gross profit margin for Cablevision Systems is rather high; currently it is at 50.44%. Regardless of Cablevision Systems's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 1.42% trails the industry average.
  • CVC, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 7.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Cablevision Systems has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Cablevision Systems increased its bottom line by earning $1.14 versus $0.48 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 37.3% in earnings ($0.72 versus $1.14).
  • 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 Media industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 67.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $71.49 million to $23.10 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CVC


Vulcan Materials

Vulcan Materials (VMC - Get Report)  has proven a strong bet for investors post-quantitative easing, returning 60.9%.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

"We rate Vulcan Materials as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. 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, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Vulcan Materials reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, Vulcan Materials increased its bottom line by earning $1.56 versus $0.16 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.08 versus $1.56).
  • 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 Construction Materials industry average. The net income increased by 85.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $66.94 million to $123.81 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 70.86% to $216.70 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, Vulcan Materials has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 64.97%.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 82.35% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 51.40% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: VMC