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Tickers in this Article: BNI, NEM, S, F, MON, BRK.A, BRK.B
The best performing large-capitalization stocks in the S&P 500 in November shared very little in common and ranged from a takeover candidate in the transportation sector to a battered old auto company.

IN PICTURES: 10 Biggest Losers In Finance

Five Biggest Big-Cap Winners
Burlington Northern Santa Fe
(NYSE: BNI) was the best performing large-cap stock in November, up 30%, as famed value investor Warren Buffett made a bid to buy the part of the railroad company that Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) didn't already own. The company offered $100 per share in a combination of stock and cash. Buffett called the purchase a wager on the direction of the economy. Many investors have criticized Buffett for keeping a huge cash hoard on its balance sheet, and this deal will reduce that somewhat. Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) was up 24% as the mining company benefited from the investor rush into gold. The company just opened a new gold mine in Australia, where it will be producing an average of 1 million ounces per year during the first five years. This new operation solidifies the company as one of the largest gold producers in the world with proved gold reserves of 85 million ounces at the end of 2008.

Time will tell if something fundamental is going on with the metal, as many investors claim, or if it's the latest investment bubble driven up by speculators and those investors who can't distinguish between fundamentals and momentum. (Learn more about gold; see 8 Reasons To Own Gold and Does It Still Pay To Invest In Gold?)

Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) also had a great November and moved up 25% during the month. This seemed more of a technical bounce as the stock has been stuck in a marked-down channel since it peaked in early summer 2009 near $6 per share. On a fundamental basis, things don't seem to be getting much better as Moody's (NYSE: MCO) recently downgraded its bond ratings to Ba2 from Ba1. Sprint Nextel also reported a net loss of nearly $500 million in its third quarter of 2009.

Ford (NYSE: F) did just the opposite of Sprint Nextel and reported a surprise profit in its Q3 2009, with the market rewarding that performance by moving the stock up 25% for the month. Ford reported net income of $997 million, or 29 cents per share. This was the company's first profit since 2005.

Monsanto (NYSE: MON) moved higher in early November after reiterating its earnings guidance for 2010 of $3.10-$3.30 per share. The average earnings estimates by analysts were at $3.29. The company is set for good earnings growth in 2011, with earnings per share estimates at $4.39 per share. It also promised to double its gross profit from 2007 to 2012. The stock finished the month up 20%.

Some Investors Concluded The Month Happy
The overall market stumbled somewhat in November, as many investors questioned whether it was discounting an economic scenario that was too optimistic given the lingering problems with leverage levels. Despite this fear, some investors left happy with performance far above that of the indexes.

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