Top 25 Stocks: 7 Things They Have in Common

The 25 best-performing stocks on the Standard & Poor's 500 this year have something in common — seven things, in fact, that have made them winners despite the volatile market.

The stocks comprising the top 25 are up an average of 47 percent for the year and the median is up 39 percent. The worst of the group is still up 27 percent.

And they have these similar attributes, according to research done by Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx in New York:

  • Though utilities lead, the best are spread through six of the 10 S&P 500 sectors.
  • They don't miss earnings often, and when they do it's by less than 10 percent.
  • Few of them — only two to be exact — have been takeover targets.
  • A high dividend, or any dividend for that matter, is not a prerequisite.
  • No financials, with Mastercard the only one coming close.
  • They can be either growth or value in nature.
  • They are large cap, of course, but not mammoth, with the average capitalization just $15 billion.

Mostly, Colas found, they are companies that revolved around fairly mundane activities: video games, tobacco, credit cards and clothing among the bigger names.

"You may have a pretty dull life," he wrote in an analysis. "But you would have had a very good portfolio thus far in 2011. But there is a message of hope, I think, in realizing that the stock market is still delivering really exceptional returns in some stocks."

The list of stocks:

S&P's Top 25