Trading the five stocks that have risen more than 50% this year

Five stocks in the S&P 500 have risen by more than 50 percent this year: Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Activision Blizzard, Align Technology, CSX and Wynn Resorts.

Which one has the best shot at continuing its rally through the rest of the year?

Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors, would put his money on shares of CSX. The rail company's stock that is up 53 percent this year on impressive earnings as well as on optimism surrounding the appointment of respected railroad executive Hunter Harrison as CEO.

"We are encouraged by the consistent free cash flow and sturdy balance sheet," Morganlander wrote to CNBC on Wednesday.

"Safety, at this point on the cycle, is important," and the cash flow and balance sheet provide that measure of safety, he said.

Research analysts, too, continue to be bullish on CSX. The median price target is $60, and 72 percent of analysts call the stock a buy, according to FactSet data.

YTD %Chg
VRTX Vertex Pharmaceuticals 74.20%
ATVI Activision Blizzard 56.80%
ALGN Align Technology 56.40%
CSX CSX 52.40%
WYNN Wynn Resorts 51.60%

A different stock stands out to Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray. Out of the five, his top pick is Wynn Resorts, given that it is "the least extended and the one that has the most upside," Johnson said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

Based on the charts, Johnson surmises that if the stock managed to close above $139, the next stop will be "the $160s and even the $170s."

The stock has cooled off a bit in the past week and a half, closing Wednesday trading at $132.42 after hitting a record high of $139.67 on June 26. Soft gaming revenue numbers out of Macau hurt the stock on Monday, though a general recovery in the China region this year has been behind the Wynn rally.

Despite the huge gains for 2017, the stock is still sharply below the record high of $249.31 set in March 2014.

And analysts aren't particularly optimistic about the stock. The most common analyst rating on Wynn shares is hold, and the median price target is $134, according to FactSet.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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