5 S&P 500 Stocks Stand Tall Despite Index's Loss of 2018 Gains

It has been a turbulent year for markets, with all major indexes erasing almost all their gains for 2018. A host of factors including U.S.-China trade war, rising interest rates, concerns over slowing global economic growth and other geopolitical tensions have been taking a toll on stocks. This has seen the S&P 500 erasing almost all of its gains in 2018. However, despite this level of volatility, some companies have stood firm, indicating investors' unswerving confidence in them.

S&P 500 in the Red for 2018

The S&P 500 is down 6.1% year to date, with the last couple of months being particularly rough. Year to date, nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors are in the red, with materials, energy, financials and industrials at the helm of the carnage.

Trade tensions between the United States and China have particularly been weighing on markets. This has clouded the overall demand outlook of major sectors. Moreover, investors have been time and again fleeing stocks since the Fed indicated that it would continue to increase interest rates to keep inflation under control.

Investor panic also stem from the government's protectionist policy that could push inflation higher. Also, growing geopolitical tensions, which have raised concerns of slowing global economic growth, have been taking a toll on stocks.

5 Winners

However, despite all these headwinds, a few companies have survived the turbulence because of their internal strengths and are poised to perform well in the near term. We take a look at five such stocks that have emerged winners amid this volatility.

Price Performance of 5 S&P 500 Winners Year to Date

Twitter, Inc.TWTR : The micro-blogging site has been one of the steady performers despite the tech sector taking a beating this year. Twitter beat both earnings and revenue estimates in third-quarter 2018. The company has been benefiting from the rising number of mobile users and its strategic acquisitions.

Earlier this year, Twitter announced an "audio-only broadcast" option in an effort to expand its foothold in live podcasting and other audio-first content. Last month, Twitter announced the rollout of a new update for its Explore tab in U.S.

Also, the company removed several Alex Jones and Infowars accounts, which were found spreading misinformation. The Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock has expected earnings growth of 81.2% for the current year. The stock has rallied 22% year to date. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Merck & Co., Inc.MRK : The biopharmaceutical giant has been going from strength to strength. The company delivered earnings and revenue beat in the third quarter. Merck's cost-cutting initiatives have been driving its bottom line. The company's new products like KeytrudaLynparza, Gardasil and Bridionhave been supporting its top line.

Recently, Merck announced EU's approval of two new HIV drugs - Pifeltro and Delstrigo - for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company has expected earnings growth of 9.1% for the current year. The stock has rallied 30.6% year to date.

salesforce.com, inc.CRM : Salesforce has been riding high on its diverse cloud offerings, strategic acquisitions and partnerships, which continue to be its growth catalysts. Salesforce reported robust top and bottom-line numbers in the third quarter.

Moreover, this year, the company entered into a range of strategic partnerships. In May, Salesforce completed the $6.5 billion acquisition of MuleSoft. The company recently announced that its services are being used by Lamborgini.

Also, it recently collaborated with Apple to enable apps and customer experiences exclusive to iPhone and iPad. The Zacks Rank #2 company has expected earnings growth of 93.3% for the current year. The stock has rallied 24.9% year to date.

Microsoft CorporationMSFT : It has been a key year for the Windows maker. Microsoft delivered impressive third-quarter earnings and revenue figures. The tech giant's constant efforts to introduce new products continue to generate sizeable cash flows. In June, Microsoft announced that it has closed a deal to acquire code-sharing service, Github, for $7.5 billion.

The company also announced partnerships with Adobe and SAP as part of the new Open Data Initiative. Also, it announced various updates regarding Azure Data Box earlier this year. The Zacks Rank #2 company has expected earnings growth of 14.2% for the current year. The stock has gained 18.7% year to date.

Macy's, Inc.M : Between 2015 and 2017, Macy's reported a decline in comps for 11 consecutive quarters. This led the company to close 100 stores. However, 2018 has been a comeback year for Macy's, with the retail giant delivering six straight quarters of positive earnings surprise, when it reported third-quarter fiscal 2018 results.

The company has been aggressively investing in e-commerce in an effort to seek online shoppers. Macy's "Buy Online Pickup in Store" and "Buy Online Ship to Store" initiatives are gaining traction. Moreover, the company expects it mobile sales to reach $1 billion this year. Understandably, the retailer is fast trying to expand its presence in the online space. The Zacks Rank #2 company has expected earnings growth of 11.7% for the current year. The stock has gained 15.6% year to date.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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