The 10 Best Stocks for 2013 – Who Will Win the Crown?

A few of these top stocks are slaying the broader market

It’s down to the wire for InvestorPlace’s 10 Best Stocks for 2013 contest, and things are heating up fast.
best-stocks-of-2013

Nearly a year ago, 10 experts chose the companies they thought would be the best stocks of 2013. And in less than a month, this annual showdown will have yet another champion.

So far this year, the Best Stocks for 2013 race has been an entertaining one. In fact, two picks aren’t just the best stocks of 2013 in this contest, but are more than doubling the broader market.

And remember, the market’s been pretty hot so far this year.

Then again, a few picks meant to be some of the best stocks of 2013 have fallen flat … big time. And with only a few weeks left in the game, the odds of a comeback seem slim to none.

Take a look at how InvestorPlace’s 10 Best Stocks for 2013 look with just a month to go:

#10: Vale

best-stocks-of-2013-vale-stockYTD Return: -25%
Investor: 
Stephanie Link

Vale (VALE) — the world’s largest producer of iron ore — had a strong third quarter, but that was the only glimpse of good news that came for this Best Stocks for 2013 entry.

Last December, expert Stephanie Link felt confident that the metals and mining company would be one of the best stocks of 2013 because of its “strong exposure to the emerging markets, improving internal fundamentals and attractive valuation.”

But despite those fundamentals and a solid few months, things didn’t quite go as planned. In fact, the strong Q3 for VALE stock wasn’t enough to make up for the ugly losses it suffered in the first half of 2013. And in November, Vale continued its downward trend.

The result: VALE stock has shed a quarter of its value since Jan. 1. Those losses are almost as much as the broader market has gained, making this far from one of the best stocks of 2013.

#9: Femsa

YTD Return: -5%
best-stocks-of-2013-fmx-stockInvestor: Jon Markman

Fomento Economico Mexicano (FMX) was another emerging markets pick that fell flat in our Best Stocks for 2013 contest.

Sure, Jon Markman’s pick for the best stock of 2013 was on pace for the silver medal back in March. But since then, FMX stock has been in a pretty steady downward climb and is 5% in the red as of the start of December.

While FMX stock sure isn’t one of the best stocks of 2013, it’s been pretty stellar in recent years. In fact, shares of FMX have soared almost 250% over the past five years — more than double the broader market — even factoring in its recent weakness.

That’s not much solace for our Best Stocks for 2013 contest, but it could be proof that the long-term thesis on FMX stock still is solid … and that shares just needed to cool off after a killer multiyear run.

#8: Two Harbors

best-stocks-of-2013-two-stockYTD Return: -4%
Investor: 
Steve Freehill

Next up, we have Two Harbors (TWO) — the mortgage REIT chosen for our Best Stocks for 2013 contest by InvestorPlace reader Steve Freehill.

Just like FMX, Two Harbors was one of the best stocks of 2013 early in the contest … but it also has slowly and surely sunk toward the bottom.

Freehill chose Two Harbors for one big reason: its eye-popping yield. And that yield has been getting even sweeter … but only because TWO is moving away from being one of the best stocks of 2013. As of the start of December, Two Harbors was yielding more than 12.1%.

Still, rising rates and the fear of tapering sent investors fleeing mREITs and other income-yielding investments in late spring … and the appetite for TWO stock simply hasn’t come back. With just a few weeks to go, it seems pretty clear that TWO will not end up as one of the best stocks of 2013.

#7: Great Lakes Dredge & Dock

best-stocks-for-2013-gldd-stockYTD Return: Flat
Investor: 
Greg Harmon

Greg Harmon’s pick of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (GLDD) actually has been posting somewhat of a comeback in the Best Stocks of 2013 contest. In the last three months alone, GLDD stock has soared over 30%.

So why isn’t GLDD one of the best stocks of 2013? Because before that run, the stock’s performance was downright ugly.

In Harmon’s defense, the struggles for GLDD stock were largely due to factors he couldn’t have seen coming. Harmon was banking on the dredging company’s technical strength to make it one of the best stocks of 2013.

But GLDD struggled thanks to an accounting error that forced the company to restate earnings for the second and third quarters of 2012. The result: a class-action lawsuit and an ugly selloff.

#6: Intel

Best-stocks-for-2013-intc-stockYTD Return: +19%
Investor: Jeff Reeves

InvestorPlace Editor Jeff Reeves’ not-so-sexy pick of tech staple Intel (INTC) as one of the best stocks of 2013 was looking brilliant halfway through the contest. That’s because INTC stock sat in first place at the end of June.

Since then, though, Intel has lost its title as the best stock of 2013. While the 19% year-to-date gains for INTC aren’t terrible, they’re worse than the broader market … and worse than half the companies in our Best Stocks for 2013 contest.

Intel posted a mini-run beginning in mid-October, but the stock has shown more weakness of late. And with just a month to go, it simply has too far to run and too little time to be one of the best stocks of 2013 when the New Year rolls around.

#5: Sherwin-Williams

best-stocks-for-2013-shw-stockYTD Return: +20%
Investor:
 
Louis Navellier

Louis Navellier’s pick of Sherwin-Williams (SHW) was another pick in the Best Stocks for 2013 contest that suffered from one big and unexpected setback.

What happened? Well, Mexico’s competition watchdog denied the company’s pending $2.34 billion purchase of Comex Group — the fourth-largest paint-maker in North America. When that news — along with an earnings miss — was released, SHW stock tumbled from its second-place spot for the best stocks of 2013.

Sherwin-Williams stock did regain some ground in recent months, and did appeal the rejected bid