Our mid-year review of the best-performing large cap stocks in '09 returns us an interesting mix: a telecom, an auto company, a couple of commodity plays and a financial stock all made the cut. Here are the top five stocks from the first half of the year with market caps greater than $10 billion.


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Dialed In
The top-performing large cap stock half way through 2009 has been Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S). The wireless company has seen its stock price surge 149.2% year-to-date. Sprint Nextel has made headlines more recently as the exclusive carrier for the new Pre smart phone by Palm (Nasdaq:PALM). An RBC Capital analyst estimates that Palm has already sold 150,000 Pres since the phone's debut on June 6.

In May, Sprint reported a quarterly net loss of 21 cents per share, versus a loss of 18 cents per share in the previous year's same quarter, as revenue declined by 12%. The silver lining was that the company beat analysts' estimates and Sprint's Boost Mobile unit was able to add 764,000 net new customers through a new $50 per month unlimited calling plan.

Built Tough
It wasn't too long ago when questions were being raised about the long-term financial viability of Ford (NYSE:F). The automaker has been able to quell many of those concerns, despite reporting a net loss of $13 million in Q1. The company was able to raise $1.4 billion through a secondary equity offering in May. Shares of Ford are up 145.9% so far this year.


Proving Their Mettle
The stock of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) has climbed 99.7% year-to-date. The stock has been able to bounce back, despite a Q1 that brought in earnings well below a year ago. The company's average realized price per pound of copper was more than cut in half when compared to Q1 2008.

The stability in the price of gold and the recent upward trend in the price of copper have given shareholders a greater deal of confidence in the long-term prospects of this name. Investors can use the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:GLD), an ETF designed to track the price of gold, as a general indicator to track the health of FCX's operating environment.

The number four stock on this list has also been benefiting from an upward trend in commodity prices. The London-based iron ore producer Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP) has had its common shares run up 83.2% in 2009. The company has made moves to cut costs and conserve cash while it continues to battle in what has been a volatile market for commodities over the past year.

We're Good
The final stock to make the cut for the best large caps in the first-half of 2009 shunned a government bailout despite steep write-downs encountered in its Q1. Barclays (NYSE:BCS) is up 79.7% so far this year. Earlier this month, the British bank accepted a $13.5 billion offer from BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) for its Barclays Global Investors business unit.

In May, Barclays posted a 12% rise in net profit on the strength of its investment banking business which grew from the purchase of the U.S. assets of Lehman Brothers. The company has acknowledged that its Q1 trading results could prove to be unsustainable in the quarters ahead, however.

The Bottom Line
Some of the best performing large cap stocks through the first half of 2009 might have been perceived as unlikely heroes a year ago, or yet just six months prior. It would not even be all that surprising to see five completely different stocks on this list when we revisit the best large caps at the close of '09. Until then, it should be an exciting ride for large cap stocks through unchartered waters. (To learn more, read Determining What Market Cap Suits Your Style.)

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Tickers in this Article: S, PALM, F, FCX, GLD, RTP, BCS, BLK

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