The Miss USA of stocks is ...

Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez is crowned Miss USA during the 2014 Miss USA Competition at The Baton Rouge River Center on June 8, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Getty Images
Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez is crowned Miss USA during the 2014 Miss USA Competition at The Baton Rouge River Center on June 8, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder. But with stocks, it's pretty clear who the lookers are.

So which state is home to the fairest stocks — or the ones that have performed the best over the past 12 months? Idaho is definitely sitting pretty. The shining Gem State has the best average performance over the past 12 months, based on a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ. The universe is limited to the stocks in the S&P 500.

The gem of Idaho is Boise-based computer chipmaker Micron Technology. Shares of the company strutted 139% higher over the past 12 months. Micron takes the crown for performance as the company has reinvigorated its growth. The company's revenue rose 65% during the past twelve months, a big jump from the 10% growth in the twelve months ended Aug. 2013.

Some might cry foul, though, about handing the Miss S&P 500 title to the beauty queen of Iowa. Iowa has just one company in the study that hails from the state.

More from USA Today:
Report: Vegas rampage suspects talked of 'next Columbine'
Obama's day: Student loans
Tracy Morgan critical but improving after deadly crash

That's a fair criticism. After all, California has some beauties, too, like social networking company Facebook. Shares of Facebook are up 172% over the past 12 months, which shows up Micron. The trouble, though, is that California also has more companies than any other state, 64. That includes some real dogs like Intuitive Surgical. The maker of robots used to assist in surgeries is down 27% over the past twelve months. After the good, the bad and the ugly are factored in, the average performance of California stocks falls to 27.4%, ranking the Golden State twelfth in the union.

But that's where same investors might makes a case to hand the Miss Stock USA sash to Connecticut. The Constitution State has the highest average performance among states with at least 10 S&P 500 companies based in its borders.

Over the past twelve months, stocks based in Connecticut have gained 40.4%, lead by the 106% run of Harman International, a maker of audio products. Investors have applauded the company's 44% growth in normalized net income over the past twelve months. That's an amazing talent especially since revenue grew 21%. The company is not only driving demand for its products but keeping a lid on costs while doing it.

And that's a thing of beauty indeed.

Below is a list of the states with the best average performance of companies based in its borders over the past twelve months:

# of S&P 500 cos. in state
Average 12-month performance
Idaho 1 139.20%
Vermont 1 63.50%
Oklahoma 5 47.20%
Connecticut 16 40.40%
Washington D.C. 3 39.90%
Maryland 8 38.60%
Kentucky 3 35.70%
Rhode Island 3 35.40%
Oregon 3 32.50%
Pennsylvania 18 29.50%
Virginia 15 29.30%
California 64 27.40%
Indiana 6 26.80%
Iowa 2 26.40%
Wisconsin 9 26.00%
Source: S&P Capital IQ, USA TODAY research

—By USA Today's Matt Krantz

Contact Stocks


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More