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Hope you didn't sell these 13 stocks in May

It's much too soon to pronounce the adage "sell in May and Go Away" wrong this year. But this common wisdom is looking like a myth, so far, again.

Investors will especially be shaking their heads if they sold any one of 13 stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 that have blasted higher by 25% or more since May 1. These adage-smashing stocks include sports apparel maker Under Armour (UA), burrito king Chipotle Mexican (CMG) and dollar store Family Dollar (FDO).

The whole "Sell in May" credo has lost "credibility" with investors the past two years, according to Sam Stovall, analyst at S&P Capital IQ in a note to clients. Last year, the S&P rose 10% between April 30 through October 31. And this year since May 1, the S&P 500 is up 5.5%. So far, 350 stocks in the S&P 500 are up since May 1.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

But those are just the averages. Selling select individual stocks in May would be been even more painful.

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Take, for instance, the 41% rise of Under Armour since May 1. The apparel maker topped adjusted earnings expectations by 14% for the second quarter, making it at least the fifth quarter of better-than-expected results. This stock has been such a strong performer between April and October, it even gained 23% in 2011, when the S&P 500 fell 8.1%.

And some might say Family Dollar's 27% run-up since May is just a fluke, due to the company announcing it's being bought by Dollar Tree (DLTR) for $74.50 a share. That's true. But it ignores the fact that Family Dollar last year between May 1 and October 31 delivered a market beating 12.2% gain, too.

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Below are the S&P 500 stocks that are up 25% or more since the start of May:

Company Symbol % Ch. since 4/30/14
Vertex Pharm. VRTX 41.20%
Under Armour UA 40.80%
Williams WMB 37.70%
Chipotle Mexican CMG 35.30%
Netflix NFLX 31.70%
Windstream WIN 30.40%
Keurig Green Mtn. GMCR 28.90%
Intuitive Surgical ISRG 28.60%
Newfield Expl. NFX 28.40%
Intel INTC 28.10%
Family Dollar FDO 26.80%
Time Warner TWX 26.20%
Alcoa AA 25.50%
Source: S&P Capital IQ, USA Today research

Again, lots can happen in the markets and to these lucky 12 stocks between now and Oct. 31. In fact, the "sell in May" adage is already ringing somewhat true with shares of small companies, Stovall says. The S&P SmallCap 600 index is down 5% since July 3, although it's clinging to a 1% gain since May 1.

The Sell-in-May rule-of-thumb does get most stocks in its tight grip, eventually. Very few companies have posted gains not just this year since May, but each and every of the past five-year periods between May and October. Just four stocks in the S&P 500 have pulled off that feat, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

Read More7 'deadly stocks' cost you 85% in 7 months

We'll see if they can keep it up through October.

What are those Sell-in-May-and-go-away adage busters? We were hoping you'd ask (note, none of the stocks below are in the chart above since none are up 25% or more this year from May).

Below are the S&P 500 stocks that posted positive gains each of the past five years between April 30 and Oct. 31 – and are up this year since April 30 (2014, 2013 and 2012 % changes are listed):

Company Symbol % Ch. since 4/30/14 % Ch. 4/30/13-10/31/13 % Ch. 4/30/12-10/31/12
AmerisourceBergen ABC 19.10% 20.70% 6%
Apple AAPL 16.70% 18.10% 1.90%
Google GOOG 11% 25% 12.50%
Kansas City Southern KSU 9.10% 11.40% 4.50%
Source: S&P Capital IQ, USA Today research

— By Matt Krantz, USA Today

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