Stocks have staged a remarkable rally since mid-June, and although the Nasdaq Composite is not in an official bull market just yet, investors may be forgiven if such nitpicking feels like making a distinction without a difference.
After all, 2022 has served up more than its fair share of pain. The market suffered through its worst first-half performance in more than 50 years. The bond market, which is supposed to offer ballast when equities are selling off, has also been battered.
And yet here we are, with the Nasdaq up more than 20% since its bear-market bottom of June 16. The S&P 500 likewise hit its nadir on that date. The financial news headlines are proclaiming the dawn of a new bull market for the tech-heavy index, but that's not exactly right. Strictly speaking, the tenets of technical analysis hold that a new bull market isn't confirmed until the previous high has been taken out.
In the Nasdaq's case, it won't be in an official bull market until it reclaims its all-time high of 16,057 set on Nov. 19, 2021.
On the other hand, who cares? Haven't we suffered enough? Let the good times roll.
The Nasdaq gained 21% between June 16 and Aug. 10. The benchmark S&P 500 is up nearly 15% over the same span. As for the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average, it's tacked on more than 11% since its June 17 low.
If the bottom is really and truly behind us, there's no harm in prematurely celebrating the beginning of a new bull market.
To mark the moment, it seemed like a good time to take a look at the top-performing S&P 500 stocks since the index bottomed out on June 16. See the table below for the full list of names, but here are just a few of the more notable highlights:
Enphase Energy (ENPH, $303.25) is the S&P 500's top stock since the index hit its bear-market low on June 16, gaining nearly 80%. Investors can thank the Inflation Reduction Act for the lion's share of the performance. The solar energy company – like the rest of the green energy sector – stands to benefit from the bill's $369 billion worth of spending on clean energy and climate initiatives. ENPH stock is up about 60% for the year-to-date, but analysts still say it's a bargain. The Street gives shares a consensus recommendation of Buy, with high conviction, per S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Moderna (MRNA, $174.27) shares are still off about 30% for the year-to-date, but they've made up a lot of ground since the June 16 bear-market low. Indeed, MRNA gained nearly 44% since then, helped partly by a strong second-quarter earnings report. The COVID-19 vaccine maker beat analysts' bottom- and top-line forecasts – and announced a $3 billion share repurchase program. The Street gives MRNA a consensus recommendation of Buy, albeit with mixed conviction. Of the 19 analysts covering the stock tracked by S&P Global Market Intelligence, four call it a Strong Buy, four say Buy, 10 have it at Hold and one rates it at Sell.
Amazon.com (AMZN, $142.69) stock is still trailing the broader market for the year-to-date, but it's catching up in a hurry. Shares in the e-commerce giant have gained nearly 38% since the market bottom of mid-June. Heck, AMZN has added nearly 25% in the past month alone. Rising fears of recession and its potential impact on retail spending weighed heavily on shares for much of 2022. The market's rotation out of pricey growth stocks and into more value-oriented names also did AMZN no favors. But as we noted in July, the AMZN selloff eventually passed beyond the point of reason. AMZN was – and remains – a screaming bargain buy. At least the Street sure thinks so. Analysts give the stock a rare consensus recommendation of Strong Buy.
Have a look at the full list of the S&P 500's top 21 stocks since the bear-market bottom: