It's ironic that the city that can claim its companies posted the best stock market returns over the past year is one that has so much in common with the runner-up city of Charlotte, N.C.
It has had amazing growth the last 20 years, is anchored by some well-known Fortune 500 companies but is filled with mid-caps on the rise, has a nice climate, a manageable cost of living and along with it, plenty of transplanted New Yorkers who now call it home. It also competes with Charlotte about which city really runs the South. (Read More: 'Wall Street South' Sees Economic Turnaround.)
We're talking about Atlanta. It is the winner in CNBC's inaugural Recovery Road Trip. (Read More: CNBC's Recovery Road Trip: What Cities Have Been Best for the Market?)
Its biggest public companies posted an average return of 22 percent in the 52 weeks ended Oct. 31. Atlanta can also brag it is the only city of the 23 indexes we created where none of its biggest company stocks dropped during that time. Pretty spectacular.
(Read More: CNBC's 'Philly Index.')
Megacaps United Parcel Service and Coca-Cola held their own, while Fed policies no doubt gave SunTrust Bank a push. Coca-Cola's big bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, matched it's cousin Coke with a gain of about $5 per share over the past year.
Shares of Sharpie maker Newell Rubbermaid are at three year highs and it recently boosted its dividend 50 percent. Though the company recently announced a reorganization that will unfortunately cut jobs, Deutsche Bank believes it was a necessary move to accelerate sales and keep the company growing in the right way. It boosted its price target on NWL to $25.
Atlanta also just got a turbo boost from Porsche, which just broke ground on a new $100 million dollar North American headquarters and test track near the airport at the site of a shuttered Ford plant. That will bring 400 jobs to the city, as well as add a cool factor.
So congratulations to Atlantans and their private and public companies for taking the win in this stock market challenge. Can it repeat next year? We'll have to wait 12 months to find out.
—By CNBC's Brian Sullivan