By Wallace Witkowski, MarketWatch
Tech companies and home builders figured prominently in the best-performing stocks of 2017 on the S&P 500 index, while energy companies and a few retail and consumer stocks figured among the worst performers.
As the books closed for the 2017 trading year, NRG Energy Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208308731/composite NRG -1.81% shares ranked as the best performing on the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.72% , edging shares of Align Technology Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200300692/composite ALGN +2.06% , the maker of Invisalign dental braces, out of the No. 1 spot on Friday. Shares of NRG closed up 1.9% on Friday, while shares of Align fell 1.8%.
NRG shares benefitted from a one-week gain of more than 43% back in July after the utility said it would shift its focus away from renewables and sell power plants in a bid to become leaner.
As for Align, the company has consistently beaten Wall Street earnings and revenue estimates in the past three quarters, and 12 out of 13 analysts who cover the company have a buy or overweight rating on the stock.
The worst performer was Baker Hughes , but to be fair, that dent in performance resulted from shareholders of the old Baker Hughes Inc. getting a special cash dividend of $17.50 a share on July 6 after General Electric Co. acquired the company.
One Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -1.62% component made an appearance on each best and worst list. While Boeing Co. /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA -5.37% shares appeared as the fifth best-performing stock on the S&P 500 index, helped along by a “close to perfect” earnings report back in July, General Electric Co. /zigman2/quotes/208495069/composite GE -1.24% shares made it in the list of 10 worst performers as shares have been consistently punished as the industrial conglomerate seeks to redefine itself under Chief Executive John Flannery.
S&P 500’s best performers in 2017
|Company/ticker||2017 % gain||Sector|
|NRG Energy Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208308731/composite NRG||132%||Utilities|
|Align Technology Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200300692/composite ALGN||131%||Health care|
|Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202259802/composite VRTX||103%||Health care|
|Wynn Resorts Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208845907/composite WYNN||95%||Consumer discretionary|
|Boeing Co. /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA||89%||Industrials|
|Micron Technology Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205710729/composite MU||88%||Tech|
|D.R. Horton Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202032328/composite DHI||87%||Consumer discretionary|
|PayPal Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208054269/composite PYPL||87%||Tech|
|Nvidia Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200467500/composite NVDA||81%||Tech|
|PulteGroup Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201694804/composite PHM||81%||Consumer discretionary|
In comparison, the S&P 500 is looking to close up about 20% this year, with tech stocks as the best performers, up nearly 34%, and telecom stocks the worst performing sector, down nearly 13%. The S&P fared worse than the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite Index for the year.
See also: Winners and losers on the Dow and the Nasdaq for 2017
Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202259802/composite VRTX -1.01% have been on a steady tear all year and received a more than 20% one-day boost back in July on positive results from a study of a cystic-fibrosis drug.
Chip makers carved out a few top 10 spots with shares of Micron Technology Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205710729/composite MU +0.89% and Nvidia Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200467500/composite NVDA -0.36% benefiting from trends in growing data centers, while shares of D.R. Horton Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202032328/composite DHI +0.66% and PulteGroup Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201694804/composite PHM +0.62% have benefited from rising construction and record confidence levels.
S&P 500’s worst performers in 2017
|Company/ticker||2017 % loss||Sector|
|Baker Hughes, a GE Co.||51%||Energy|
|Range Resources Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205059849/composite RRC||50%||Energy|
|Under Armour Inc. A shares /zigman2/quotes/204420722/composite UAA /C shares /zigman2/quotes/208967132/composite UA||50% / 47%||Consumer discretionary|
|Envision Healthcare Corp.||45%||Health care|
|General Electric Co. /zigman2/quotes/208495069/composite GE||45%||Industrials|
|Mattel Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209819189/composite MAT||44%||Consumer discretionary|
|Chesapeake Energy Corp. /zigman2/quotes/224537584/composite CHK||44%||Energy|
|Advance Auto Parts Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202065737/composite AAP||41%||Consumer discretionary|
|Signet Jewelers Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204614427/composite SIG||40%||Consumer discretionary|
While energy names like Range Resources Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. struggled, shares of consumer-facing companies like Under Armour Inc. andMattel Inc. got clobbered this year on earnings woes. Additionally, Mattel’s bonds were recently downgraded to “junk” and no definitive word on whether Hasbro Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201249319/composite HAS -2.81% is going to acquire its rival.
Shares of Advance Auto Parts Inc. made the top 10 worst, even after shares rallied earlier in November following stronger-than-expected quarterly results.