Market Insider

It Pays to Be a US Company This Year

This year it has paid to be a U.S. company.

New York Stock Exchange
Photo: Oliver Quillia for

CNBC screened 120 companies in the S&P that derived more than 98 percent of sales from the United States. While the FTSE CNBC Global 300 is up 6 percent, the overall S&P is up more than 8.5 percent. The 120 American companies have seen gains on par with the S&P.

Among the best performing sector in that group are homebuilders, like Pulte Homes — up 75 percent, as we’ve seen more encouraging data on housing.

“Over the past week we got every housing number that was positive," said Peter Bookvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak. “They're all pointing to kind of a bottoming process, but there's a long way between a bottoming process and a natural recovery.”

Seven of the top 20 best performing stocks are financials. The sector is up about 13.5 percent year-to-date. But what’s interesting is that utilities, up just 3 percent year-to-date, have been surpassed by the performance of these less defensive sectors.

“Financials have a low exposure...and consumer discretionary also has a relatively low foreign exposure,” said Sam Stovall, Chief Investment officer at S&P.

And while the U.S. may be relatively better off than its counterparts across the Atlantic, Boockvar cautions that the American economy and U.S.-centric firms will be not immune from the global slowdown.

He points to Bed, Bath and Beyond , which recently warned of slowing sales. “While it's not to the extent that Europe is, the U.S. is not a place to hide.”

As Stovall put it, “The U.S. is more defensive on a global basis, but not necessarily when it comes to a volatility perspective.”


Top ten best performers are: PHM (Pulte Group), RF (Regional Financial Corp), LEN (Lennar Corp), S (Sprint Nextel), DFS (Discover Financial Services), FII (Federated Investors), STI (SunTrust Banks), MPC (Marathon Petroleum Corp), CMCSA (Comcast), ROST (Ross Stores).

If you had invested $100 in each of the top ten at the beginning of the year, you would be up nearly 49 percent. That thousand dollars would be worth $1,490 right now.

— By CNBC's Bertha Coombs

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