2022’s 10 Best-Performing Stocks

These stocks have generated the best returns so far in 2022.

The stock market is off to a shaky start to 2022. Fears over persistently high inflation, aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes and geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine have the S&P 500 down 13.3% through April 29. Fortunately for investors, a handful of top-performing stocks have bucked the bearish trend. Top performers include several oil and gas stocks benefiting from surging energy prices and health care stocks with unique bullish catalysts. Here are the 10 best-performing stocks of 2022 so far among companies that trade on major U.S. exchanges and have market capitalizations of at least $1 billion. Returns are through April 29.

10. Comstock Resources Inc. (ticker: CRK)

Comstock Resources is a natural gas exploration and production company focused on the Haynesville shale gas region of East Texas. Like other oil and gas stocks, Comstock has benefited from soaring energy prices, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine. Henry Hub natural gas spot prices are up more than 135% in the past year. In February, Comstock reported 37% year-over-year revenue growth in the fourth quarter and said its net income more than quadrupled to $355.9 million. Since gas prices have continued to shoot higher so far in 2022, Comstock investors are likely expecting even bigger first-quarter numbers. Comstock shares are up 110.5% year to date.

9. PBF Energy Inc. (PBF)

PBF Energy is an independent refiner that produces gasoline, diesel and other refined petroleum products. PBF has taken advantage of the favorable energy environment to significantly improve its balance sheet in recent quarters. In April, PBF repaid $25 million in debt and repurchased $30 million of 2028 6% senior notes and 2025 7.25% senior notes. Diesel prices were up 63% in the first quarter, while gasoline prices increased by 47%. The per-barrel price difference between Brent crude oil and diesel, also called the “crack spread,” increased from $10.85 at the end of the first quarter of 2021 to $47.12 as of the end of the first quarter of 2022. PBF Energy shares are up 124% year to date.

8. Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU)

Peabody Energy is one of the world’s largest pure-play coal producers. Even before the Ukraine conflict sent coal prices skyrocketing, Peabody reported 58% year-over-year growth in revenue from coal sales in the first quarter of 2022. In addition, Peabody paid back $42 million in debt and completed a $320 million convertible notes offering to retire higher-cost debt. Given the recent trends in coal prices and the absence of any meaningful progress toward a resolution in Ukraine, Peabody investors are understandably expecting the company’s big growth numbers to continue throughout 2022. BTU stock is up 124.8% year to date.

7. RPC Inc. (RES)

RPC is an oil and gas equipment and services company. RPC shares have trended steadily higher throughout the opening months of 2022, as crude oil prices have surged to their highest levels since 2008. In late April, RPC reported 55.9% revenue growth in the first quarter. CEO Richard Hubbell said he sees “increasingly favorable market dynamics” so far in 2022. The number of rigs operating in the U.S. by energy companies has already risen by 258 rigs to 698 total rigs in the past year as of April 29. Rising oil prices and rig counts have propelled RES shares higher by 127.8% year to date.

6. Celularity Inc. (CELU)

Celularity is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapies for treating cancer and other diseases and disorders. The company went public via a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in July 2021. In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Celularity fast-track designation for its therapy — called CYNK-101 — for treating first-line advanced HER2/neu-positive gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancer. This designation gives drugs a quicker path to review and availability if they “fill an unmet medical need,” according to the FDA. The latest FDA decision was the third fast-track designation that Celularity received in a 12-month span, and investors clearly see the company gaining momentum. Celularity shares are up 128.3% year to date.

5. Nutex Health Inc. (NUTX)

Nutex Health is a technology-enabled health care services company. In April, Nutex merged with health management company Clinigence Holdings Inc. The combined company adopted Nutanex’s name, changed its stock ticker to NUTX and uplisted its shares from the over-the-counter market to the Nasdaq on April 4. The stock skyrocketed right out of the gates, surging from less than $4 on the OTC market to as high as $52.80 in early April following the uplisting announcement. Since that initial surge, the stock has traded all the way back down to less than $10, but it is still up 128.6% overall in 2022.

4. Lantheus Holdings Inc. (LNTH)

Lantheus is a diagnostic imaging technology company. Lantheus shares ripped higher by 39% in February the day the company reported blowout fourth-quarter earnings and revenue numbers and another 20% higher in April when it raised its 2022 earnings and revenue guidance. Lantheus’ launch of its Pylarify positron emission tomography imaging agent for prostate cancer has been a tremendous success, and the company said Pylarify was the primary driver of its 125.8% year-over-year revenue growth in the first quarter. Lantheus is also generating impressive sales growth from its Definity diagnostic ultrasound enhancing agent. The company’s bullish sales momentum has propelled LNTH stock higher by 129.8% year to date.

3. Sierra Oncology Inc. (SRRA)

Sierra Oncology is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a drug called momelotinib to treat myelofibrosis patients with anemia. Sierra shares jumped about 39% in mid-April when GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) announced plans for a $1.9 billion buyout of Sierra priced at $55 per share. GlaxoSmithKline is already a leader in hematology, and it expects momelotinib sales will begin in 2023 and potentially grow significantly from there. Sierra shares closed at $54.51 on April 29, leaving little additional upside for investors. However, the buyout announcement was enough to push Sierra’s year-to-date stock gains to 150.7%, making it one of the top performers of 2022.

2. Alpha Metallurgical Resources Inc. (AMR)

Alpha Metallurgical Resources is a Tennessee-based coal mining company. While clean energy may be the biggest long-term growth trend in the energy sector, coal prices have surged along with oil and gas prices so far in 2022 as the world pushes to combat energy shortages by any means necessary. In fact, in the past year, coal prices are up about 250%, significantly more than both the 61% gain in crude oil prices and the 150% gain in natural gas prices. In March, Alpha reported fourth-quarter 2021 net income of $254.5 million compared with a loss of $55.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. That impressive growth has driven AMR stock up 153.5% year to date.

1. NexTier Oilfield Solutions Inc. (NEX)

Like other energy stocks, energy services company NexTier Oilfield Solutions has benefited from rising oil and gas prices in 2022. In early January, the stock surged more than 20% after it updated its fourth-quarter financial guidance, and the stock’s bullish momentum has continued ever since. In April, NexTier reported $635 million in first-quarter revenue, its fourth consecutive quarter of at least 25% sequential growth. CEO Robert Drummond said fracking capacity is nearly fully utilized at this point, positioning NexTier for free cash flow generation and profitable growth in the foreseeable future. NEX stock is up 210.7% year to date.

2022’s 10 best-performing stocks:

NexTier Oilfield Solutions Inc. (NEX) Alpha Metallurgical Resources Inc. (AMR) Sierra Oncology Inc. (SRRA) Lantheus Holdings Inc. (LNTH) Nutex Health Inc. (NUTX) Celularity Inc. (CELU) RPC Inc. (RES) Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) PBF Energy Inc. (PBF) Comstock Resources Inc. (CRK)

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2022’s 10 Best-Performing Stocks originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 05/02/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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