There’s been much discussion this year about how the market rally has been concentrated in a handful of mega-cap tech stocks. Most stocks are flat or down, grumble analysts, noting that the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average recently turned negative on the year. If it weren’t for a catalyst in artificial intelligence ( ), the entire market might be in the red right now.
While much of this is true, look a little closer and one can see several stocks that have racked up big gains so far in 2023.
The broader market might be treading water, but several individual stocks have been soaring and outperforming. These are not the usual suspects. There are many lesser known, unheralded securities that are up 50%, 100%, or more this year. The gains in these names are being fueled by strong earnings, improving sentiment, and some surprising catalysts. Here are silent winners: seven overlooked stocks posting impressive gains.
Marathon Digital (MARA)
The crypto miner just reported that it produced 1,242 Bitcoin in September, a 16% increase from August of this year and a 245% increase from September 2022 when the sector was in the grips of a “crypto winter” and prices for digital coins and tokens were in freefall. The increased production comes as the price of BTC has remained buoyant despite a decline in stocks since August.
Marathon Digital said it has now produced 8,610 Bitcoin this year and is searching for new mining locations that offer low-cost renewable energy that’s needed to mine for crypto. Owing to the increased activity and growth in cryptocurrency prices, MARA stock has gained 145% this year, nearly matching the increase in shares of Meta (NASDAQ:META).
Over the last five years, Marathon Digital’s stock has increased 233%. While grossly under reported, crypto mining stocks are soaring this year.
Dell Technologies (DELL)
There’s been a lot of talk this year about tech stocks, but almost no mention of Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL). That seems strange given that the maker of laptops, monitors, and other computer hardware has been on a bull run.
DELL stock is up 64% this year, has gained 95% over the last 12 months, and is up 150% since the company returned to the public markets five years ago after a hiatus. The rise in Dell Technologies’ share price is all the more impressive given that sales of personal computers globally have been in a funk for the past two years.
DELL stock is currently trading near an all-time high. The company is benefitting from diversification and its moves into new areas beyond computer hardware such as cloud computing and data protection. Management is also focusing on the red hot area AI, mentioning the term “AI” nearly 20 times during its last earnings call with analysts and media. Dell has also posted better-than-expected financial results and raised guidance this year. DELL stock also pays a dividend of 37 cents a share per quarter, for a yield of 2.23%.
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF)
Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) is a retailer known for selling casual wear. However, ANF stock has been trading more like a tech start-up this year than a clothing retailer.
Year-to-date, Abercrombie’s share price has risen 141%. The stock is up 268% over the last 12 months. Through five years, the shares have increased 200%. It’s a remarkable result that has trounced the performance of just about every other clothing retailer. The Gap’s (NYSE:GPS) stock is down 10% this year, for example.
ANF stock began to skyrocket after a surprise profit was reported at the end of May this year. Abercrombie subsequently issued an earnings print at the end of August that obliterated Wall Street forecasts, announcing a profit of $1.10 a share when analysts had been looking for earnings of just 17 cents. Revenue also crushed consensus forecasts.
The company also raised its outlook for the remainder of this year, saying it now expects sales to grow 10%, up from previous guidance of 2% growth. ANF stock is like a runaway train at this point.
General Electric (GE)
After years in the wilderness, shares of General Electric (NYSE:GE) have come roaring back. GE stock is up 66% in 2023, and has increased 117% in the past 12 months. The revival comes after the industrial giant successfully spun-off its healthcare unit in January. More changes are coming, with GE planning to spin-off its power generation business in early 2024. These change enable General Electric to focus more on its core businesses (which are also its most profitable) of aerospace and renewable energy.
The breakup of its business is already having a positive impact on General Electric’s earnings. GE stock rose 6% after the company’s most recent financial results beat Wall Street forecasts across the board, and the company raised its full-year profit outlook. The company said it is benefitting from strong demand for its jet engine parts and airline maintenance work amid the current boom in air travel.
Despite this year’s big run, GE stock looks attractively valued trading at 13 times future earnings.
Fair Isaac (FICO)
Fair Isaac Corp. (NYSE:FICO) is the credit scoring company that’s behind everybody’s FICO score, which measures consumer credit worthiness. Fair Isaac is the kind of company that provides an essential service in a niche market, giving it a near-monopoly position in the marketplace and a wide moat around its business. Some 95% of financial institutions in the U.S. are clients of Fair Isaac.
With the economy in flux and interest rates at their highest level in 22-years, credit checks and FICO scores are being scrutinized now more than ever before, leading to boom times at Fair Isaac. This is reflected in FICO stock, which is up 50% this year, up 124% over the last 12 months, and up 330% over the past five years. The share price is currently near a 52-week high. The stock isn’t cheap, but its long-term outperformance and competitive position make it worth the expense.
After being crushed during the pandemic, cruise line operator Carnival Corp. (NYSE:CCL) is gaining ground again. CCL stock has risen 59% year to date, and is up 99% in the last 12 months. Other cruise operators such as Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) have seen similarly strong gains in their share prices this year. With the heights of the pandemic firmly in our rearview mirror and cruise bookings up sharply, Carnival’s earnings and its stock are once again moving higher. It’s welcome news after two very difficult years for the global cruise line industry.
The company announced that it is seeing the highest demand for bookings in more than 50 years as people take to the high seas once again. CCL stock is also gaining traction from the fact that the company is making progress in terms of paying down its $30 billion debt load, the majority of which it incurred while its ships were idled during the Covid-19 crisis.
Marvell Technology (MRVL)
How about a microchip and semiconductor stock not named Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA)? For that we turn to Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL), a chip stock that has been performing well this year with little fanfare. Since January, MRVL stock has gained 50%, bringing its five year advance to 200%. The company, whose technology is used in areas such as computer, networking, security and storage, is seeing strong demand and earnings growth.
Like most chip and semiconductor companies, Marvell also has a big opportunity in AI. So much so, that MRVL stock rose more than 30% at the end of May when management highlighted the company’s potential AI catalyst during an earnings call.
More recently, the company beat Wall Street expectations with its quarterly print delivered at the end of August, reporting a profit of 33 cents a share on sales of $1.34 billion compared to 32 cents a share and sales of $1.33 billion that analysts had penciled in for the company.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole held long positions in FICO and NVDA. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.