Last Updated Nov 22, 2013 4:05 PM EST
NEW YORK - Health care stocks led the market's gains as the Standard & Poor's 500 closed above the 1,800 milestone for the first time. The stock market is on track for its best year in a decade. Major indexes have surged as a combination of solid corporate earnings, a strengthening economy and easy-money policies from the Federal Reserve have drawn investors to stocks.
Biotechnology company BioGen surged on reports that it won market exclusivity for its top-selling multiple sclerosis drug in Europe. Time Warner Cable jumped after the Wall Street Journal reported that Charter Communications was close to a bid for the company.
The S&P 500 index rose nine points to close at 1,805. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 55 points to close at 16,065. The Nasdaq composite gained 22 points to close at 3,992.
The S&P 500 has gained 27 percent this year. If it finishes at that level, it will be the strongest year for the index since it advanced 26.4 percent a decade ago.
The index, which is made up of 500 large companies, includes some big winners and losers. The following is a list of the three biggest gainers and the three biggest decliners so far in 2013.
- NetFlix: The video streaming and DVD rental company is playing well with investors. Its stock has jumped 276 percent this year and hit a 52-week high of $389 in October, when its earnings quadrupled and it added 1.3 million more U.S. subscribers. Netflix is increasingly viewed as a TV network with hit original programming that can siphon away viewers from HBO and other rivals. Shares closed at $347.85 Friday.
- Best Buy: The electronics retailer
is turning itself around under new CEO Hubert Joly. The stock is up 232 percent
this year after shuttering underperforming stores and revamping others to
offset tough competition. It has also instituted a price-matching policy,
opened more in-store areas for brands such as Apple and Samsung and invested
more in employee training. Last December, Best Buy languished at $11, now it's
almost $40. Shares closed at $39.37 Friday.
- Micron Technology: The chipmaker is getting a memory boost. The stock is up 219 percent this year. Its chips, found in computers, cars and mobile devices, are benefiting from consolidation in the industry. In July, it completed an acquisition of Japan's Elpida Memory Inc., which helped boost its fiscal fourth-quarter results. Revenue for that quarter, which ended in August, jumped 45 percent. Shares closed at a 52-week high of $20.19 Friday.
- J.C. Penney: The beleaguered retailer has shown flashes of life lately, but it's still the biggest percentage loser on the S&P 500 index, with a drop of 55 percent this year. The company began its downward spiral during an ill-fated transformation strategy under former CEO Ron Johnson, who was fired in April after 17 months on the job. Now, experts say investors are encouraged that Mike Ullman, who took the top job after having led the retailer for seven years before, is beginning to stabilize the business. Shares closed at $8.87 Friday.
- Newmont Mining: Things aren't so golden for Newmont. The miner is coping with dropping gold prices and its stock is off 45 percent in 2013. Gold prices peaked in 2011 and have fallen sharply this year. Newmont's revenue in the third quarter slid 20 percent. Shares closed at $25.74 Friday.
- Cliffs Natural Resources: Miners have been hit hard this year by Europe's economic struggles and questions about China's growth. Cleveland-based mining company Cliffs has managed to lower costs but its stock is still down 33 percent. Cheap natural gas has depressed coal prices at home. Shares closed at $26.04 Friday.