The best performing mid-capitalization stocks in November ranged from a pure momentum play to a couple of industrial and material companies that some investors see as prime beneficiaries of the rebound in the economy. Other top performers included a buyout candidate and a company receiving a large legal settlement.

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Top Five Mid-Caps
Advanced Micro Devices
(NYSE: AMD) had a spectacular month and rose 56% in November. The company benefited from a $1.25 billion legal settlement with competitor Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). The parties agreed to end all litigation involving antitrust and patent issues between them. AMD promptly used the funds to delever its balance sheet, which has always been a concern to investors. The company is buying back part of a convertible bond issue and redeeming another note issue in full.
Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) also had a great month and finished up 36%, hitting a nine-year high. The company is riding pure earnings and price momentum, and it recently raised guidance for the current quarter. This is extraordinary considering the state of the global economy and its assumed effects on travel and lodging.

Priceline.com's earnings momentum has also been extraordinary. The company beat estimates for the last four quarters by double-digit percentages. Priceline.com has seen its 2010 earnings per share estimates move higher over the last 90 days from $8.79 to $10.21 per share.

Massey Energy (NYSE: MEE) benefited from a strong rally in coal stocks in November, as investors anticipated the return of demand in 2010 from customers. This includes demand from steel makers for metallurgical coal and a slower improvement in demand from power companies for thermal coal.

Massey Energy, an Appalachian producer of coal, produced 41 million tons in 2008, 79% of which was thermal, with the balance metallurgical coal. The sector also received a boost from an upgrade by analysts at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS). The stock finished the month up 31%. (For more on analyst expectations, be sure to read Analyst Forecasts Spell Disaster For Some Stocks.)

U.S. Steel (NYSE: X) was also up 31% for the month as it benefited from investor anticipation of a global recovery and a slow trickle of positive news during November. JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) added U.S. Steel to its focus list and Goldman Sachs upgraded the entire steel group from neutral to attractive. The sector was also helped by an economic report showing Chinese industrial production rising more than anticipated.

IMS Health (NYSE: RX) jumped 30% in November after the company announced that TPG Capital and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board were purchasing it for $5.2 billion.

Several Mid-Caps Posted Returns Far Above The Index
The mid-cap sector was a great place to be in November for investors skilled at the art of stock picking, as several names posted returns far above the index.

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Tickers in this Article: AMD, PCLN, MEE, X, RX, INTC, GS, JPM

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