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There are multiple ways to gauge the "top" stocks of 2010. Below are two different methods to gauge the top S&P 500 stocks of 2010. The first list contains the top stocks based on year to date price performance, which is the obvious method for gauging the top stocks of the year:

Ticker Company Sector Performance YTD
(NYSE:CMI) Cummins Inc. Industrial Goods 142.95%
(NYSE:Q) Qwest Communications International Inc. Technology 91.94%
(NASDAQ:HBAN) Huntington Bancshares Inc. Financial 91.74%
(NYSE:AIG) American International Group, Inc. Financial 91.03%
(NASDAQ:ZION) Zions Bancorp. Financial 89.46%
(NASDAQ:AKAM) Akamai Technologies Inc. Technology 89.11%
(NASDAQ:PCLN) priceline.com Incorporated Services 85.75%
(NYSE:FDO) Family Dollar Stores Inc. Services 82.27%
(WFMI) Whole Foods Market, Inc. Services 82.26%
(NYSE:PXD) Pioneer Natural Resources Co. Basic Materials 81.98%

However, another method for gauging price momentum is to average returns over multiple time periods. Below is the average quarterly, half year, and 1 year return for stocks in the S&P 500. As you can see, this method produces a different list:

Ticker Company Sector Performance (Quarter) Half Year Year Sum
(CMI) Cummins Inc. Industrial Goods 20.97% 70.11% 137.86% 76.31%
(NYSE:MWW) Monster Worldwide, Inc. Services 84.61% 102.83% 36.12% 74.52%
(PCLN) priceline.com Incorporated Services 16.54% 129.81% 76.98% 74.44%
(NYSE:ANF) Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Services 48.28% 90.77% 66.52% 68.52%
(AIG) American International Group, Inc. Financial 52.92% 66.29% 80.89% 66.70%
(NYSE:NOV) National Oilwell Varco, Inc. Basic Materials 48.11% 101.37% 49.25% 66.24%
(NYSE:CF) CF Industries Holdings, Inc. Basic Materials 35.84% 112.97% 45.16% 64.66%
(NYSE:FCX) Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Basic Materials 38.66% 103.12% 48.62% 63.47%
(NYSE:MEE) Massey Energy Co. Basic Materials 70.92% 93.55% 23.38% 62.62%
(NYSE:F) Ford Motor Co. Consumer Goods 35.77% 66.07% 65.58% 55.81%

Data Source: Finviz

Disclosure: No positions

Source: Evaluating 2010's Top Stocks Two Ways