With just one week of trading left in what looks to be a frustrating and lackluster year for stocks, it would be easy to dismiss 2011 as a washout and set your sights on new opportunities for the new year. Given the fact that, at its best, the S&P 500 was up 9% in May, only to be down 14% by early October, it is no small accomplishment that we are wrapping up the year basically where we began it 12 months ago.
That said, 2011 wasn't all bad. In fact, a trio from the healthcare sector dominates the list of the year's top performers (that were not acquired*).
In 5th place with a 62% gain for the year, is Michigan-based generic drug-maker Perrigo. The stock is now worth about $9.5 billion dollars and saw an already great year turn even brighter earlier this month when it was added to both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 indices making it a must-own company for virtually all large cap index funds.
Not far ahead on the leader board, in 4th place, you will find Biogen Idec, which is up 66% this year. The Boston-based bio-pharmaceutical company is now worth over $27 billion and is best known for its multiple sclerosis and cancer drugs. After hitting an all-time high of $120 in October, Biogen is currently trading down at about $111 a share but is still supported with ''buy" ratings by 63% of the analysts who follow the company. It has an average price target of $124.Read More »from Fab 5: The Best Stocks Of 2011