We’ve had volatile year to say the least, with stocks moving up and down … and little to show for the rocky ride.
The sideways movement came as the Fed continuously kicked the can down the road with regards to an interest rate hike — one that now seems quite likely to come in December — and as the S&P 500 slid into an earnings recession.
But despite the uncertainty and volatility, this week is Thanksgiving — the time of year to chow down on turkey, hang out with loved ones and tally up any victories and good luck you can remember.
We can do the same for the stock market. As with any year, 2015 has come with its fair share of big-time winners and losers. Let’s take a look at a few stellar stocks that investor should be thankful in the wake of their impressive year-to-date performances.
Be Thankful for Google (GOOGL)
Let’s start with the obvious: the stock that’s leading InvestorPlace’s Best Stocks of 2015 contest thanks to stellar 44% year-to-date gains. Paul R. La Monica is definitely thankful his pick of Google (GOOG) — which is now technically Alphabet — is going as planned.
As La Monica pointed out this fall, Google reported strong YouTube growth and expanding mobile ad operations — two key catalysts for the upwards momentum. Meanwhile, the company continues to push the ball forward with artificial intelligence all while curbing spending thanks largely to its new CFO.
Then again, there has been a lot to be thankful for when it comes Google stock for some time. Over the past five years, shares have expanded by more than 150%.
Be Thankful for Netflix (NFLX)
Plenty of consumers are likely thankful for Netflix (NFLX), maybe because it provides distraction and entertainment (or perhaps because of the pickup line “Netflix and chill”). But investors have good reason to love the streaming star as well; you simply can’t argue with 150% year-to-date gains.
Plus, the future looks bright for Netflix. The company already boasts 65 million members in 50 countries and is focusing heavily on its global expansion. In the most recent letter to shareholders, management noted: “With a successful launch in Japan, and our launches next week in Spain, Italy and Portugal, we remain on track to become global by the end of 2016.”
That expansion should slow up on the bottom line, too. Netflix is slated for 25% earnings growth over the next five years — four times the broader S&P 500. The company also has lots of original content on tap — something investors and viewers can both be happy about.
Be Thankful for JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU)
Another winner so far in 2015 has been JetBlue Airways (JBLU) — a stock that has booked a sweet 60% gain year-to-date and nearly doubled over the last year. And the list of things to be thankful for with regards to JetBlue hardly just applies to this year. The company has grown EPS by 47% per year over the last half decade and has grown revenue every year since the Great Recession.
Looking forward, things are expected to get even sweeter. The estimated $7 billion in sales on tap for next year would represent double 2009’s total. Meanwhile, long-term EPS growth is expected to be a mouthwatering 54% annually on top of the aforementioned impressive history.
Investors may want to be cautious about the high expectations JetBlue is facing as a result of its impressive track record and optimistic outlook — but those concerns can wait until after the week of thankfulness.
Be Thankful for Starbucks (SBUX)
I’m personally thankful for Starbucks (SBUX) because it offers wi-fi and caffeine, but investors in the chain should be thankful, too. As is the case with several names on this list, Starbucks has been on an impressive run, tallying 50% year-to-date gains while also boasting a solid outlook.
In this case, analysts are predicting EPS expansion of 18% per year long-term, which is especially notable for such an established and fundamentally sound company. Starbucks has increased revenue every year since the Great Recession, expanding from $9.77 billion in 2009 to $19.16 billion in fiscal 2015. And the company is putting all the pumpkin spice latte revenues to good use with a rock-solid 50% return on equity.
The whipped cream on top of this order is a 1.3% dividend yield that has been especially sweet considering that the payout is tacked on top of solid organic growth.
Be Thankful for Amazon (AMZN)
With Thanksgiving also comes the beginning of the holiday shopping season … and the reigning champion of that season is retail giant Amazon (AMZN). AMZN stock has soared 115% since the start of the year. And the do-it-all online retailer is expected to expand earnings by nearly 260% for the final months of 2015 on the back of its consistent 20% sales growth.
Granted, Amazon typically kills on volume but lacks on margins, which mitigates the effects of the holiday season shopping spree. Investors may instead be thankful for the company’s cloud business, which has been a key driver of profitability.
But results are results — and they’re indeed showing up in the share price. The stock, which is hardly a deal by nominal standards at almost $670, is expected by the analyst community to reach the $740 mark — good for gains of more than 10% despite its already stellar run-up.
Be Thankful for Nvidia (NVDA)
Sticking in the tech realm, we have the company that “pioneered the art and science of visual computing” — Nvidia (NVDA). It’s not just investors that should be thankful for Nvidia; the company’s chips play a vital role in countless growing tech markets from the cloud to virtualization.
That high demand — and the semiconductor acquisition rumors that come with it — are driving strong results and stock gains.
So far in the 2015 calendar year, Nvidia stock has improved by more than 56%, thanks in part to an impressive earnings report in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. The company posted record revenue, leading to a 49% expansion in earnings year-over-year and an earnings beat of 76%.
Some investors are skeptical that the run can continue — as evidenced by the fact that 10% of the stock’s float is sold short. But between a decent dividend and steadily increasing earnings estimates, there’s reason for optimism.
Be Thankful for Home Depot (HD)
Speaking of stocks with a decent dividend and decent growth, Home Depot (HD) is yet another winner worth appreciating so far this year. Shares have gained 24% since 2015 kicked off, while the pick also yields 1.8% thanks to its quarterly payout.
Granted, that’s not as immediately head-turning as some other picks on this list … but it’s especially promising because it’s a sign of the housing recovery. Housing sales hit an eight-year high earlier in 2015, and that strength showed up again in yet another earnings beat.
Strong results have been sending Home Depot chugging higher since the depths of the Great Recession, too. Tally it up and HD stock has returned more than 300% in the past five years.
Alyssa Oursler is based in San Francisco and writes about technology, investing, gender and entrepreneurship. Her work has appeared on Forbes, Business Insider, MSN Money and more. You can follow her on Twitter here or check out her personal site here. As of this writing, she unfortunately did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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