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Biotech, Internet And Chinese Stocks Lead 2013 Market

2014: A Look Back And Ahead Biotechnology, the Internet and China.

That basically sums up the 10 most successful stocks of 2013, based on the highest percentage gains for the year.

In that exclusive group, three were biotechs. That reflects a solid year for the industry, which rallied on breakthroughs in the lab and expanding drug approvals.

The biotechs in 2013's top 10 are not as well known as some of the industry's larger companies, which were solid market leaders in their own right.

While the larger leaders advanced from one chart consolidation to the next, those in the top 10 were characterized by dramatic price bursts.

Clovis Oncology (CLVS) more than doubled in a single day. That was June 3, when it announced promising test results for a treatment for solid tumors. Clovis today is sharply below its peak closing price, but still up more than 275% for the year.

Several Internet-related stocks figured in the top 10.

Vipshop Holdings (VIPS) found a successful niche as a provider of "flash sales" that offer discounts for short periods of time. The Internet retailing industry group finished the year in the top 40 of 197 groups.

YY Inc. (YY), a Web portal with music and games, soared about 250% in 2013. The Internet content group finished 2013 in the top five.

Vipshop and YY are Chinese companies and examples of another trend.

After sitting out the 2013 U.S. market rally for several months, Chinese stocks re-emerged as leaders, mainly in the second half of the year, with many earning spots on the IBD 50.

Volatility still afflicts many Chinese shares, but some rewarded investors with powerful gains.

Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS) is not a Chinese company, but the personal care products maker is getting most of its growth from China.

The leisure sector spawned a number of successful stocks during the year, and the best of those was Netflix (NFLX).

The company's Internet-delivered video service continued growing; its interface is now found in game consoles and other devices.

Netflix also became a potent media player in 2013 as it introduced original content, including its "House of Cards" series.

Two stocks blazed trails separately from the rest of the top 10.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) — up about 340% in 2013 — combined innovation, the luxury market and alternative energy to produce surging sales.

The maker of all-electric cars turned profitable in 2013 and its shares — essentially range-bound since 2010 — kicked off a huge advance in April.

Ubiquiti Networks (UBNT), a wireless networking company, surged 278%.

To calculate the best stocks of the year, IBD excluded those whose share prices were below 10 at the start of 2013, and new issues that were priced below 10 at their initial public offerings. Stocks with fewer than 10,000 shares of average daily volume also were excluded.