Nasdaq hit a fresh record on Dec 17, buoyed by improved investor sentiment on the back of trade optimism and strong economic fundamentals in China. The tech-laden index ended at a record 8,823.36 on the day. The phase-one trade deal between the United States and China has been welcomed by the investor community after being on tenterhooks for 18 odd months.
It is also important to mention that while stock markets wobbled for most part of the year due to Brexit and trade war woes, the tech-heavy Nasdaq carved out brilliant performances. An outstanding U.S. tech sector has been pivotal in shaping up the Nasdaq’s rally so far this year.
Also supporting gains for the index were broad-based factors such as strength in the U.S. economy, the longest bull market in history and spectacular earnings from the Nasdaq-listed companies. Let us therefore have a look at some of the companies that have boosted the index so far in 2019.
2019 – A Banner Year for Nasdaq
The Nasdaq is up around 31% so far this year. Notably, the Nasdaq Composite is up around 60% from the end of 2016. Despite the recent market volatility, stocks have rallied in 2019. The Nasdaq Composite has been the top performer among the three major indices. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index got a boost from tech giants, the likes of which include Apple (AAPL - Free Report) , Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) and Facebook (FB - Free Report) , each registering staggering gains in the year-to-date period.
Over the first three quarters of this year, the tech-weighted index rallied more than 20%. Historically, this has been viewed as a bullish indicator for the overall markets. Also, since 1990, the Nasdaq has surged over 20% in the first nine months of the year on seven different occasions.
Longest Bull Run in History
The current phase of stock market rally, which began around March 2009, is the best in history. The Nasdaq alone has total returns of more than 500% from lows the market had hit in 2009.
The bull market turned 10 this year in March and Wall Street pundits expect the rally to continue in 2020, on the back of an accommodative monetary policy adopted by the Federal Reserve as well as strong fundamentals of the U.S. economy.
Notably, this is also the longest phase of economic expansion in U.S. history, now in its 11th year. The current cycle of economic expansion which began around June 2009 has easily outdone the record 120-month expansion in the period between March 1991 and March 2001, per the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Economists have attributed this to President Trump’s landmark tax cut of 2018 as well as supportive business regulations.
5 Best Picks
In this context, we have selected five stocks that have boosted the Nasdaq in 2019. These stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and have surpassed the Nasdaq Composite index in the year-to-date (YTD) period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Amkor Technology, Inc. (AMKR - Free Report) is a provider of outsourced semiconductor packaging and test services.
The company is based out of Tempe, AZ and sports a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved more than 100% over the past 60 days. The stock has surged 97.4% in the YTD period.
Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) develops and licenses software, services, devices as well as solutions across the globe.
The company is based out of Redmond, WA and carries a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 2.7% over the past 60 days. The stock has gained 51.5% in the YTD period.
NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA - Free Report) is a visual computing company which operates in two segments, viz., GPU and Tegra Processor.
The company is based out of Santa Clara, CA and carries a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 4.1% over the past 60 days. The stock has increased 69% in the YTD period.
PCTEL, Inc. (PCTI - Free Report) is a designer and manufacturer of precision antennas, used in small cells, enterprise Wi-Fi access points, fleet management and transit systems. The company also provides radio frequency test and measurement tools.
The company is based out of Bloomingdale, IL and carries a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 7.3% over the past 60 days. The stock has gained 93.5% in the YTD period.
KLA Corporation (KLAC - Free Report) is a designer and manufacturer of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor and nanoelectronics industries.
The company is based out of Milpitas, CA and has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 4% over the past 60 days. The stock has increased 93.4% in the YTD period.
Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2020
In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top tickers for the entirety of 2020?
These 10 are painstakingly hand-picked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. They are our primary picks to buy and hold. Start Your Access to the New Zacks Top 10 Stocks >>