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S&P 500 Close to Record High: 5 Top-Notch Stocks to Bet on

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The S&P 500 Index is within a percent's proximity to reaching April's record high mark. The index is gaining ground from a number of positive events that are expected to buoy the market sentiments.

These include a possible trade negotiation between the United States and China, prompted by a tweet from President Donald Trump. Given the projected retardation in the global economy, it is highly crucial for the trade war to arrive at a peaceful consensus.

Moreover, a positive commentary on the economic stimulus by Mario Draghi, president, European Central Bank also raised investors’ hopes. Further, a buzz of optimism surrounding a potential cut in the Fed’s benchmark interest rate has driven the index.

S&P 500 Rebounds in June

We note that the index achieved the largest gain in 30 years during the first four months of this year. However, the index nose-dived in May as a sudden setback of the U.S.-China trade bargains and numerous weak economic reports of April and May deflated investors' faith to a great degree.

Nonetheless, the index has recovered some lost sheen in the last couple of weeks, courtesy of the positive development in terms of the U.S.-China trade tussle. Additionally, attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, Huawei ban and President Trump’s skirmishes with Mexico, Iran and Germany over business issues couldn’t damage investor confidence.

Notably, the S&P 500 Index inched up 0.97% on Jun 18 to close at 2,917.75, nearing its all-time closing high of 2,945.83, set on Apr 30.

This rally in the index was led by the trade-sensitive industrials, which rose 1.92% and the technology stocks that were up 2.08%.

In the technology space, semiconductor stocks — which are highly dependent on China — were the largest percentage gainers, with iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) growing nearly 4.9%. Among the biggest gainers, Xilinx, Micron, NVIDIA and Western Digital increased 6.94%, 5.74%, 5.41% and 5.07%, respectively.

Key Picks

Here we pick a few solid stocks from the S&P 500, which sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and have also outperformed the index in the year-to-date period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The chart below shows price performance of our five best bets so far this year.

New York-based Arconic Inc. (ARNC - Free Report) is a global leader in multi-material, precision engineered products and solutions for a variety of industries. The Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.8 per share for the current year has been revised 2.9% upward over the last 30 days. The stock has surged 39.5% year to date.

Headquartered in Sarasota, FL, Roper Technologies, Inc. (ROP - Free Report) designs, manufactures and distributes medical and scientific imaging products and software; radio frequency (RF) products, services and application software; industrial technology products and energy systems plus control products and solutions. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 earnings of $12.92 has been raised 1.8% in the past 30 days. The stock has improved 37.2% year to date.

Based in New York,American International Group Inc. (AIG - Free Report) is engaged in providing insurance and financial services to commercial, institutional and individual customers. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 earnings of $4.96 has been stable in the past 30 days. The stock has risen 35.3% year to date.

Domiciled in Raleigh, NC, Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (MLM - Free Report) produces and supplies construction aggregates and other heavy building materials, mainly cement, in the United States.  The Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9.26 for 2019 earnings has moved 0.22% north over the past 30 days. The stock has gained 28.8% year to date.

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, PulteGroup Inc. (PHM - Free Report) deals in the homebuilding and financial services businesses, primarily in the United States. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 earnings of $3.4 has been reaffirmed in the past 30 days. The stock has climbed 26.6% year to date.

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