In the last 12 months, the S&P 500 has risen nearly 18%, a strong performance if you compare it to different yearly time frames for the previous five years. Having the S&P 500 as one of the main benchmarks to assess the overall health of the U.S economy, we can find a vast variety of stocks that greatly outperform and underperform this index. The following four large cap stocks have considerably outperformed the S&P 500 and their returns are in in excess of 70% or more in the last year.

Vipshop Holdings Limited (VIPS), an online Chinese discount retailer, is up more than 400% over the last year. The stock has clearly respected the 50-day moving average, only dropping below for brief periods between April and May 2014. A potential entry point investors could consider is if the stock price experiences a pullback at $175. The price reached $201.50 on July 2, 2014, retreated, and is pushing toward that level again. A break above that price could signal another short-term advance, keeping the long-term uptrend healthy.

VIPS long-term uptrend

Another excellent performer over the last year is Micron Technology Inc. (MU,) which jumped more than 140% since July 2013. Minor pullbacks have respected the 50-day moving average. A deeper pullback, like the one seen in March and April 2014, breached the 50-day but stayed well above the 200-day moving average. Therefore, a pullback to the 50-day moving average provides a potential entry area, with a stop loss not too far below. The stock made a $34.50 high on July 1, pulled back and is now testing that high again. A break above keeps the long-term uptrend healthy and indicates another short-term advance.

MU long-term uptrend

Facebook, Inc. (FB) is up more than 150% over the last twelve months. That all came earlier in the year, though, as the stock has struggled since putting in a March high at $72.59. The stock remains above its 200-day moving average, and technically the uptrend is still intact as the price has been making overall higher swing highs and higher swing lows. If the price falters here, and is unable to make a new high, then a drop back below $60 (which is near the 200-day moving average as well) means the stock will likely enter a downtrend.

FB top performer

American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) is up more than 70% over the last year, and after consolidating through much of June and July of 2014, is pushing back towards a resistance of $44.88. Given the overall uptrend, a break above the resistance and out of the consolidation sets up another likely advance for the stock. If the current consolidation sees a downside break--a drop below $37.90, it is likely the stock price will not continue an uptrend. Given that this area was already tested this month, a move higher is more likely than a drop below this area.

AAL uptrend

The Bottom Line

These stocks have been strong for the last year, and continue to exhibit strength and potential for more upside. The one exception is possibly Facebook. While the uptrend remains intact, there hasn't been any progress since March 2014 and moves higher have been more feeble than the advances seen earlier in the year. Having already seen exceptional gains, there isn't really any reason to bail on these stocks just yet.

VipShop Holdings, Micron Technologies and American Airlines are all pushing at resistance, with a break higher indicating more gains, at least in the short-term.

It is recommended to always have an exit strategy for taking profits, possibly placing a stop below a recent low, or just below a moving average that has been tested during the uptrend.

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    The ABCs of Bond ETF Distributions

    How do bond exchange traded fund (ETF) distributions work? It’s a question I get a lot. First, let’s explain what we mean by distributions.
  2. Chart Advisor

    These Oil & Gas Stocks Have Reversed

    It's been a long downtrend for oil stock owners, but there's hope. These four oil and gas stocks have reversed and may keep trending to the upside.
  3. Stock Analysis

    3 Stocks that Are Top Bets for Retirement

    These three stocks are resilient, fundamentally sound and also pay generous dividends.
  4. Investing News

    Are Stocks Cheap Now? Nope. And Here's Why

    Are stocks cheap right now? Be wary of those who are telling you what you want to hear. Here's why.
  5. Investing News

    4 Value Stocks Worth Your Immediate Attention

    Here are four stocks that offer good value and will likely outperform the majority of stocks throughout the broader market over the next several years.
  6. Investing News

    These 3 High-Quality Stocks Are Dividend Royalty

    Here are three resilient, dividend-paying companies that may mitigate some worry in an uncertain investing environment.
  7. Stock Analysis

    An Auto Stock Alternative to Ford and GM

    If you're not sure where Ford and General Motors are going, you might want to look at this auto investment option instead.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The 4 Best Buy-and-Hold ETFs

    Explore detailed analyses of the top buy-and-hold exchange traded funds, and learn about their characteristics, statistics and suitability.
  9. Chart Advisor

    Bumpy Roads Ahead In Transportation

    Investors are keeping an eye on the transportation industry. We'll take a look at the trend direction and how to trade it.
  10. Chart Advisor

    Agriculture Commodities Are In The Bear's Sights

    Agriculture stocks have experienced strong moves higher over recent weeks, but chart patterns on sugar, corn and wheat are suggesting the moves could be short lived.
  1. What are some of the most common technical indicators that back up Doji patterns?

    The doji candlestick is important enough that Steve Nison devotes an entire chapter to it in his definitive work on candlestick ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Tame Panic Selling with the Exhausted Selling Model

    The exhausted selling model is a pricing strategy used to identify and trade based off of the price floor of a security. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Point and Figure Charting Using Count Analysis

    Count analysis is a means of interpreting point and figure charts to measure vertical price movements. Technical analysts ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What assumptions are made when conducting a t-test?

    The common assumptions made when doing a t-test include those regarding the scale of measurement, random sampling, normality ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!