Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) were the stocks to be in this year, according to the numbers. But can you guess which stock came in third place? It isn't the one you might think. Believe it or not, Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) was the third best-performing stock in 2013.
Riding high on Tesla's technology
Steven Russolillo of The Wall Street Journal looked at the numbers and collected the top five momentum stocks according to their gains this year. The percentages he gave were as of Friday's closing price.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was far and away the biggest gainer on the U.S. exchanges during 2013, climbing 346%. The stock started surging in May after the automaker reported its first quarterly profits. Throughout much of the year, bears were scratching their heads and clamoring about Tesla's fundamentals as the stock soared and then peaked at nearly $195 in September. At its peak, Tesla shares had risen 474% for the year. However, they slumped for the next two months after the automaker dealt with three fiery wrecks. As of this morning, shares are hovering around $153 a share.
Netflix nearly triples
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) also made remarkable progress in 2013, increasing 296% to make the streaming video service provider the S&P 500's and the NASDAQ 100's top performer this year. Investors became excided as Netflix continued to report climbing subscriber growth and more original programs, which were received very well by viewers and critics alike.
Netflix reported earning $32 million in its last quarterly report. At this point, however, investors aren't so worried about the thin margins as long as the company keeps growing and collecting piles of high-quality content like House of Cards, which won an Emmy, and Orange is the New Black. Carl Icahn sold off over half his shares of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) in October for approximately $1 billion after originally getting into the company at $58 a share last year.
Best Buy surprises
Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) was probably one of the biggest surprises of this year. Shares of the electronics retailer slumped by approximately 50%, and many thought the company would fold. Former CEO Richard Schulze considered buying the company he founded for between $24 and $26 a share, but he ended up walking away.
This year shares of Best Buy climbed 239%, making the retailer's stock one of just three in the S&P 500 to surge more than 200% this year. CEO Hubert Joly has orchestrated a turnaround and brought better quarterly results earlier than expected. Shares rose over $40 for the first time in three years. Although they still have a ways to go to reach their original peak in the upper $50s, Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) has shown what a difference a year makes.
Twitter soars after IPO
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has been the talk of Wall Street since its initial public offering in November. Shares rose 145% as of the end of trading on Friday, although they lost more of their value on Monday, falling 5%. This morning in premarket trading, however, they rose more than 1.5%, so today could be another interesting day for the stock, which has attracted tons of attention over the last few trading sessions.
Dealogic indicates that at its IPO, Twitter raised over $100 million. After rocketing upward on its opening day at the exchange, momentum carried the stock into December, and then analysts started to turn cautious on the company's valuation. The reaction to Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)'s debut on the stock exchange was quite different than what happened to peer Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which took 18 months to even reach its IPO price again.
Herbalife puts the hurt on Ackman
And finally, Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) has really thrown a wrench into the works for activist Bill Ackman, who has been trying since last December to take a chunk out of the company's market capitalization. He announced a tremendous short last year, but his drawing attention to the nutritional supplements company has done nothing but inflate the price. Herbalife shares are now up 138%, and the company has reported solid quarterly results this year.
However, Ackman hasn't given up yet and even says he has more ammo to use in 2014.