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Netflix: S&P 500′s Best Stock of 2013 (So Far)

The Exchange

The first quarter of 2013 clearly has been a good one for the equity market overall, and on Thursday, the S&P 500 reached its all-time closing high. According to FactSet, five stocks in the index have surged 50% or more since the beginning of the year, and to this point, movie renter Netflix (NFLX) is No. 1 overall.

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Netflix: Credit Reuters
Yahoo Finance data show that, as of the previous close, the S&P is better by 6.9% from the first trading day in January, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is ahead by 8.3%. The Nasdaq Composite has added 5%.

However, those upward moves are, as always, going to be paltry compared with the biggest percentage-gaining shares. So far, the S&P's winners are led by Netflix and its increase of 106.8%.

Doubling a share price in a quarter is always impressive, but that said, the major part of Netflix's climb occurred over just a few days in January after it reported a strong holiday run for its business. The shares closed at $97.81 on Jan. 22, and by Jan. 25, they were at $169.56.

Still, go back a few more months, and the stock had its 52-week low of $52.81. So from then, it's more than tripled. In recent trading, it was at $188.82.

Along with Netflix, here are the other four names that make up the best-performing S&P 500 stocks this year (because the market is closed tomorrow for Good Friday, today is the last trading day of the quarter):

S&P 500 Winners, 1Q 2013: Data from FactSet
Source: FactSet. Data through March 27, 2013.

Of course, there are always the losers as well. The names on the downside in the first quarter are paced by miner Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF), with a loss of 52.4%.

The laggards are as follows, and because of a tie for fifth-worst return, the list has six companies:

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S&P 500 Losers, 1Q 2013: Data from FactSet
Source: FactSet. Data through March 27, 2013.

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