One of the best-performing stocks of 2023 averted disaster to surge 1,000%

Quick, name the best-performing stock of 2023 so far.

No, it isn’t related to artificial intelligence — although shares of AI-linked chip maker Nvidia Corp.
NVDA,
+0.56%
have surged more than 200% thus far on the year.

The so-called Magnificent Seven group of stocks, which includes Nvidia, have produced illustrious year-to-date returns. Both collectively and individually, those stocks have been all the rage on Wall Street this year.

Apple shares
AAPL,
+0.69%
have gained nearly 50% so far this year, while Microsoft’s stock
MSFT,
+0.49%
has risen by about 56%, both classes of Google parent Alphabet’s stock
GOOG,
+0.19%

GOOGL,
+0.17%
have risen nearly 60%, shares of Amazon
AMZN,
-0.16%
have rallied over 80%, Tesla’s shares
TSLA,
+0.65%
have more than doubled and the stock in Facebook parent Meta Platforms
META,
+0.59%
has almost tripled in the period, according to FactSet data.

However, none of those stocks can hold a candle to the best performers of 2023, as gauged by MarketWatch.

Based on companies that boasted a market value of at least $1 billion as of Dec. 26, the No. 1 and No. 2 performers were Soleno Therapeutics
SLNO,
-0.62%
and online used-car dealer Carvana
CVNA,
+1.21%.
Their stocks have registered the best gains of the year, according to data commissioned by MarketWatch and compiled by Dow Jones Market Data.

Shares of Soleno have enjoyed a stratospheric advance, up around 1,900%, as the biotech company in the fall announced positive results for its diazoxide choline extended-release tablets designed to treat Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disease that can lead to intellectual disability, obesity and other symptoms.

Representatives of Soleno didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Meanwhile, Carvana’s stock skyrocketed 1,050% as the automotive retailer, which had been struggling to reduce its debt load, staged a turnaround for the ages that helped it stave off a cash crisis.

Mike McKeever, head of capital markets at Carvana, characterized 2023 to MarketWatch “as a defining year” for the company. Shares of competitor CarMax
KMX,
-0.90%
and the U.S.-listed stock of Auto Trader
AUTO,
-0.31%

ATDRY,

were up a relatively pedestrian 28% and 46%, respectively, so far this year.

Read: The 10 days that moved the stock market the most in 2023

Other notable outperformers on the year include buy-now-pay-later lender Affirm Holdings
AFRM,
-1.31%,
which has soared more than 400% thus far in 2023.

Biotech and biopharma companies — which are known for their volatility — as well as crypto-related entities were among other stocks that stood out in what has been described as the “weirdest bull market in decades,” with the S&P 500
SPX
and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA
hovering at or near record highs on the heels of policy moves by the Federal Reserve that imply that the central bank is satisfied with the outcome of its quest to vanquish post-pandemic inflation.

Symbol

Name

Market value

2023 % change

SLNO,
-0.62%
Soleno Therapeutics Inc

1,222.1

1,923.7

CVNA,
+1.21%
Carvana Co. Class A

10,693.2

1,030.0

CIFR,
-3.51%
Cipher Mining Inc

1,268.2

789.3

MARA,
-3.83%
Marathon Digital Holdings Inc.

6,002.0

688.3

IMGN,
-0.10%
Immunogen Inc.

8,328.5

501.8

MLTX,
-1.27%
MoonLake Immunotherapeutics Class A

3,842.9

486.1

CLSK,
-2.85%
Cleanspark Inc.

2,169.0

475.5

BBIO,
+0.15%
BridgeBio Pharma Inc.

7,304.9

451.0

AFRM,
-1.31%
Affirm Holdings Inc. Class A

15,098.8

417.5

RIOT,
-2.20%
Riot Platforms, Inc.

3,583.0

411.8

Source: FactSet, Dow Jones Market Data, as of Tuesday’s close

What do those performances mean for next year? It’s hard to say.

Momentum can turn on a dime, and in-favor sectors can quickly lose ground to new high-flying market darlings.

Be careful out there.

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