Dan Caplinger has actually been a contract writer for the Motley couchsurfingcook.com considering that 2006. As the couchsurfingcook.com"s Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees a lot of the personal-finance and investment-planning content publiburned day-to-day on couchsurfingcook.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and also independent financial consultant, Dan"s posts are based on more than 20 years of suffer from all angles of the financial people.Follow

The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) did quite well in 2016, finishing the year with a complete rerevolve of about 12%. That was far better than 2015"s level performance, and new records made many type of index investors quite happy with the year"s results. Yet the optimal stocks in the S&P 500 did far much better than the as a whole benchmark"s rerotate. Let"s take a look at the list of the ideal stocks in the S&P and also then attract some conclusions from their performance.

You are watching: Top performing stocks 2016


2016 Return





Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX)


Newmont Mining


Spectra Energy


Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT)


Quanta Services


Comerica (NYSE:CMA)


Martin Marietta Materials




Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The energy sector is back!

The most noticeable resource of strong performance among S&P 500 stocks was the massive bounce in oil and natural gas prices during 2016. After beginning 2016 at below $40 per barrel and easily falling below $30 early on in the year, crude oil prices climbed above $50 per barrel to end the year. Natural gas did also better, finishing 2016 via a nearly 60% increase from where they ended in 2015.

Companies throughout the sector felt the impact of those gains. For producers prefer Freeport-McMoRan, higher prices meant much better prospects for bringing future projects on line and also better profits for existing drilling. For solutions service providers favor Halliburton and facilities experts favor ONEOK and also Spectra Energy, better manufacturing meant better demands for their items and also solutions, and that aided drive share-price gains for those stocks as well.

Image source: Getty Imperiods.

In addition, providers exterior the industry that concentrated strongly on serving power carriers also benefits. Comerica is an excellent example, bereason the Dallas-based regional financial institution had a greater than average concentration of lfinishing to power service providers in its loan portfolio. That contributed to subpar performance in 2015 throughout crude"s plunge, however Comerica"s stock price tracked the price of crude rather carefully as it rebounded. Furthermore, more favorable conditions for banks mainly likewise added to its strong performance.

Certainly, energy was simply the a lot of visible of products that rebounded. Freeport"s and also Newmont"s gains likewise reflected solid performance for copper and also gold, and the appearance of Martin Marietta Materials on the list shows that even demand also for basic products favor building aggregateways was primarily better in 2016 than in recent years.

Given how much power prices dropped, there"s every reason to believe that the commodity could continue to climb in 2017. The question, though, is just how much stellar gains in many kind of energy stocks have actually already taken future oil-price increases for granted. One thing is clear: if oil doesn"t regulate to host onto its current gains and also starts falling aobtain, then the gains on these and also various other energy stocks will prove short-lived.

Playing the chip surge

Outside energy, modern technology stocks were the various other massive performers in 2016, however the height stocks concentrated on a solitary sector: semiconductor chips. NVIDIA"s height retransforms came on the basis of the boosting popularity of its graphics chips, which lead the market and have actually found uses in an significantly wide variety of applications. By keeping rivals at bay and looking to capitalize in locations favor self-driving cars and also synthetic knowledge, NVIDIA collection itself acomponent from the crowd in 2016 and might proceed to carry out so.

Image source: NVIDIA.

Yet success made its means throughout the chip sector. Applied Materials was an excellent instance, posting gains as the cycle for the market turned upward beforehand in the year and also assisted the company geneprice much better results. A emphasis on 3D memory chips and even more efficient production procedures aided Applied Materials outpace its rivals, and via strong demand also for display screen panels and solid-state drive storage services, further gains are possible.

The S&P 500 gave investors solid returns in 2016, and also the major patterns that drove stocks better verified up fairly plainly in the ideal performing stocks in the index last year. Even though tensions among some market participants are increasing about the stock market"s prospects in 2017, investors will certainly save looking at these 10 S&P 500 stocks to check out if they can duplicate also a part of their strong performance over the past year.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, that may disagree via the “official” referral place of a Motley couchsurfingcook.com premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- also among our very own -- helps us all think critically about investing and also make decisions that assist us come to be smarter, happier, and richer.
Dan Caplinger has actually no position in any type of stocks mentioned. The Motley couchsurfingcook.com owns shares of and also recommends Nvidia, ONEOK, and Spectra Energy. The Motley couchsurfingcook.com owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper and also Gold and also Halliburton. The Motley couchsurfingcook.com has a disclocertain plan.