Below is a list of the 50 best performing stocks in the Russell 3000 in 2012. Each of the 50 stocks that made the list was up more than 135% for the year, with BioDelivery Sciences (NASDAQ:BDSI) leading the way at +435.32%. Five other stocks gained more than 300% in 2012 -- Ellie Mae (NYSEMKT:ELLI), Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE:HOV), Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA), PGT Inc. (NYSE:PGTI) and Waterstone Financial (NASDAQ:WSBF).
Most of the stocks that made the list are relative unknowns compared to the big blue chips, but they certainly made a lot of money for investors that held them throughout 2012. Some other notables on the list include 3D-printing stocks DDD and SSYS. 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) was up 270.49%, while Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) was up 163.56%. A lot of homebuilders made the list as well, including HOV, PHM, and MHO.
While most of these stocks will not see a repeat performance of 2012, they're nearly all currently in strong uptrends with plenty of momentum behind them. It's definitely worth taking a closer look at each of 2012's 50 biggest winners to get a grasp on what worked in 2012 and maybe find a few long opportunities for the new year.