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  • Dominic Miranda

2024 Best Performing Stocks: First Quarter Evaluation


NVDA 1 Year Chart

Although the major US markets experienced growth across the board, the list below includes the top ten 2024 best-performing stocks for the first quarter of the year. Although the list is mostly composed of technology companies, it may not come completely as expected. One big surprise: NVIDIA not being number one, especially with all of the hype surrounding its recent contributions in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sphere. Speaking of AI, many of the companies here are also heavily involved in the proliferation and development of AI, as we seem to only be scratching the surface in terms of AI’s capabilities for productivity and automation. Another sector in this list is energy, which is known to be quite volatile at times, but can prosper during times of inflation. On top of that, three other sectors have stocks that also occupy spots in the top ten. Throughout this list, we will provide some context for the gains made in each of these company’s prices, along with some trends in their respective industries as a whole. 


Top Ten 2024 Best Performing Stocks



10. (MPC) Marathon Petroleum Corporation → 41.60%


One major driver of the success of Marathon is that the price of crude oil rose to $89/barrel throughout the last year or so, according to the Energy Information Administration(EIA). It is expected to maintain that price into the second half quarter of the year, but is expected to drop off in growth and price afterward and into next year according to the EIA. They cite geopolitical risks associated with major oil producers to be a contributing factor. Crude oil prices surged to $91/barrel in April as well, and Marathon specifically is releasing its Fiscal Year 2025 earnings report on April 30th, according to invezz. Marathon is a reliable company with strong ownership and is expected to take advantage of these geopolitical developments, but keep a close eye on the report as well as important developments around the world surrounding oil-rich countries. 


9. (NRG) NRG Energy, Inc. → 41.60%


NRG is an energy and home services company and has thus likely benefited from the increased energy prices around the world, despite having their primary presence in the US and Canada. Since they primarily focus on in-home products, the growth of the smart-home sector is likely to be a contributing factor to their increase in prices as well, since NRG sells many smart-home products. NRG also reaffirmed guidance recently, in which they doubled down on earnings expectations for the future. Also paid down some debt while contributing to a cost savings program, according to Yahoo Finance.


8. (DOC) Healthpeak Properties → 45.43%


At the eighth highest gaining price of the first quarter is Healthpeak Properties, which is a real estate investment fund that focuses on properties in the healthcare sector. They recently closed a merger with Physicians Realty Trust, and this was expected to “augment [their] earnings, balance sheet, and platform” according to the CEO. Right around the same time, they also secured a $750 million dollar loan, which was intended to pay off debts and “general corporate purposes”. However, since mergers are quite complex and tend to have growing pains early on, speculators suggest that this price will drop in the next year or so.


7. (WDC) Western Digital Corporation → 47.13%


At number seven is the San Jose-based computer drive manufacturer and data storage company: Western Digital. They quietly enjoyed high growth during the quarter, even though they suffered a general downward trend from late January to late February after their company reported losses due to “structural charges” and negative reports on earnings for 2023. Be on the lookout for their Q1 earnings report release in late April which may bring about more confidence to investors for the near future. They are also planning on splitting into two companies for each of the “Flash and Hard Disk Drive segments”. According to Business Insider, the “Flash segment represents flash-based data storage devices, while The Hard Disk Drive segment provides hard disk storage solutions” which hopes to better maximize resources in each market.


6. (MU) Micron Technology, Inc. → 51.67%


With the first entry based on developments in AI, Micron Technology was one of the major players to jump onto the AI boom and base its product offerings on it. On the front page of Micron.com, you are met with a link and image with the text “At the forefront of memory innovation for AI”. They are also among the industry leaders in innovation for data storage and performance. Likely due to their ability to capitalize on the buzz surrounding AI and increased reliance on storage technology, Micron surpassed expected earnings by over $400 million dollars in Q2 of FY 2024. Micron is a reliable and established name that has been able to innovate 


5. (META) Meta Platforms, Inc. → 51.98%


Meta, the parent company of social media giants Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, among others, enjoyed an increase in prices themselves over the quarter. One contributing factor: the earnings report in January provided a boost to investor confidence. More specifically, they had a revenue increase of “25% and 16% year-over-year for the fourth quarter and full year 2023”. Revenue has bounced back in 2023 and looks to continue this trend into 2024, and the looming earnings report will give us an idea of where they are headed. Meta has also been engaging in discussions about AI as they look to launch their own versions given the recent breakthroughs. Their deemphasis on political and news content has also been quite controversial and we will wait and see if this will harm the prices somewhere in the future. 


4. (GE) GE Aerospace → 56.91%


GE’s split into 3 public companies likely contributed to the price increase, as investors were much more confident in their aerospace sector than they were about their other ventures in power and renewable energy. Their successful spin-off allowed this division to focus on themselves and allocate more resources towards developing a sector that may see more demand arising from the recent string of airplane malfunctioning incidents. Also worth noting, due to the company’s focus on airplane parts, their work with the military likely improved earnings as the Air Force was looking to make changes by maintain superiority amid Great Power Competition in February of 2024. GE Aerospace reported a successful earnings period as well, as succeeding expectations. 


3. (CEG) Constellation Energy Corporation → 67.74%


The highest-ranking energy stock of the first quarter is the Constellation Energy Corporation, which is a Baltimore-based company that is the nation’s largest carbon-free energy provider, while also generating sustainable solutions to the energy problem. By being an established green energy company, investors can note their longevity and pursuit of adaptation. Also, believe it or not, the AI boom is also expected to contribute to energy stocks in the future, as data storage and processing systems require a lot of energy.


2. (NVDA) NVIDIA Corporation → 81.60%

 

At the second highest gaining stock, we have NVIDIA Corporation, whose revenue more than “tripled to $22.10 billion and net income jumped to $12.29 billion” in Q4 of FY 2024, indicating that they were able to capitalize on the increased demand from the AI boom. They well surpassed expectations on earnings, and indicate that the market for AI equipment and processors is growing. AI is slowly becoming ubiquitous in daily life, as more functions are able to be automated while graphics cards and other processors become more powerful. NVIDIA has more eyes on them now that they have been flooding the market with the latest innovations in the digital sphere. For that reason, they were able to reach record highs over the quarter. However, companies like Intel, Meta, and Google all have plans to release their own chips and AIs, which may cut into the expected revenue NVIDIA will gain in the future. 


1. (SMCI) Super Micro Computer, Inc. → 228.26%


Coming in at first place for the best performance of the first quarter, Super Micro Computer(SMC) experienced a period of extremely high growth. SMC is an information technology firm that manufactures various devices that provide systems for cloud computing, AI, and 5G Internet, among others. After reporting that it had exceeded revenue expectations in January, the Silicon Valley-based firm’s prices continued to make most of their increases afterward. Due to SMC’s continued gains in the technology sector and consistent growth over the last couple of years, investors seemed to be confident in their expectations for the future. Given the increased prevalence of AI, its established and proven track record, and among its major customers including NVIDIA, it makes sense for investors to be confident in SMC’s future growth. The fact that they also would like to maintain their pursuit of innovation helps investors share their vision.


Conclusion


We have seen the recent AI revolution make significant waves and its manifestations in the US market. We have also seen how energy companies are able to capitalize on market developments as well. With the recent inflation report being higher than expected, the overall market took a hit, and rate cuts do not seem to be happening anytime soon, but are worth looking out for. With that being said, energy companies like the ones on this list may be able to capitalize on this development. For more information on assets to invest in during periods of high inflation, visit our other blog post for a comprehensive list of high and low-risk assets.

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