Wall Street is firing on all cylinders since the beginning of this year, breaking one record after another. All three major stock indexes — the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite — have gained 2.3%, 2.8% and 4.6%, respectively, year to date.
The S&P 500 Index, generally considered as the barometer of market sentiment within the financial circle, closed in positive territory in nine of the first 14 trading days in this year. Moreover, the benchmark index reached a milestone on Jan 16 after closing, above the technical threshold of 3,300 for the first time.
In addition to the above-mentioned positives, a closer look into the S&P Index will reveal a more important feature. Several large-cap stocks (market capital >20 billion) within the index have already popped more than 10% year to date and still have strong upside left.
A series of recently released economic data for December like retail sales, housing and manufacturing output confirms U.S. economic stability and clearly indicates that the historically longest expansionary phase is here to stay. Unemployment rate is currently at the lowest-level in 50 years. Inflation rate is 1.6%, well below the Fed’s 2% target rate.
The recently signed phase-one trade deal between the United States and China has significantly cooled down the nearly two-year old tariff war. The interim deal will at least help in restoring U.S. business confidence and global economic growth.
On Jan 16, the U.S. Senate has approved the USMCA act that will replace the earlier NAFTA, the trade treaty between the United States, Canada and Mexico. This was one of the key trade-related renovations taken by President Donald Trump to boost U.S. exports. Finally, geopolitical escalation in Iran has cooled down.
Several economists and financial researchers have projected that the S&P 500 Index is likely to gain 15-20% in 2020 even though this is the U.S. presidential election year. Historically, the index provided 6.3% annual returns in presidential election years and was up 78% of the time.
Our Top Picks
We have narrowed down our search to six large-cap S&P 500 stocks that have surged more than 10% so far this year and still have upside left. Each of our picks carries either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
The chart below shows the price performance of our six picks year to date.
Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Free Report) provides online advertising services in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Canada and Latin America. It offers performance and brand advertising services and operates through Google and Other Bets segments.
The Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 17.7% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.2% over the past 30 days. The stock has advanced 10.8% year to date.
salesforce.com.inc. (CRM - Free Report) is the leading provider of on-demand Customer Relationship Management software, which enables organizations to better manage critical operations such as sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, document management, analytics and custom application development.
The Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 7.3% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.3% over the past 30 days. The stock has jumped 12.3% year to date.
L3Harris Technologies Inc. (LHX - Free Report) provides technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers' mission-critical challenges in the United States and internationally. It operates in three segments: Communication Systems, Electronic Systems, and Space and Intelligence Systems.
The Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 14.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.4% over the past 30 days. The stock has soared 12.3% year to date.
McKesson Corp. (MCK - Free Report) provides pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in the United States and internationally. It operates through three segments: U.S. Pharmaceutical and Specialty Solutions, European Pharmaceutical Solutions and Medical-Surgical Solutions.
The Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 7.4% for the current year (ending March 2020). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 1.3% over the past 30 days. The stock has rallied 12.6% year to date.
VeriSign Inc. (VRSN - Free Report) provides Internet infrastructure services that include domain name registry services and infrastructure assurance services. Its products enable the security, stability and resiliency of Internet infrastructure and services.
The Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 6.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.4% over the past 30 days. The stock has climbed 12.3% year to date.
Synopsys Inc. (SNPS - Free Report) is a leading vendor of electronic design automation software to the semiconductor and electronics industries. It offers a full suite of products used in the logic synthesis and functional verification phases of chip design, including a broad array of reusable design building blocks.
The Zacks Rank #1 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 14.5% for the current year (ending October 2020). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.2% over the past 30 days. The stock has gained 10.2% year to date.
The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All
Last year, it generated $24 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $77.6 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.
See Zacks' 3 Best Stocks to Play This Trend >>