NASDAQ’s Top YTD Performers, Ex-Apple

LULUThe past week has been none too kind to the PowerShares QQQ (NASDAQ: QQQ), also known as the NASDAQ 100 tracking ETF. QQQ has tumbled 4.1%, but let’s remember that the fund is up 15.4% year-to-date and the Nasdaq is the best performing of the major U.S. indexes.


Of course, much of the good fortune for QQQ and the Nasdaq Composite this year is attributable to the meteoric rise of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), but even shares of the iPad and iPhone maker have had a tough go of things in recent weeks, sliding 9.4% in the past month.


With that pullback, there are now a few Nasdaq constituents that have actually outperformed Apple on a year-to-date basis. Let’s have a look at few Nasdaq names that are in Apple’s league or even beating the tech juggernaut this year.


Lululemon Atheltica (NASDAQ: LULU):

Shares of Lululemon have surged nearly 59% year-to-date, but some of the wind has come out of the stock’s sails recently as the shares have tumbled nearly 7% in the past week. Still, 59% in less than five months is impressive and it proves consumers are willing to pay up for Lululemon’s pricy workout attire.


However, there are some some issues that might prove concerning. First, most of Lululemon’s customers are women, but the company is looking to gain affinity among men. Most analysts that follow the company don’t even realize how hard it’s going to be to get most regular guys to spend up for Lululemon’s apparel.


Second, Lululemon trades at almost 36 times forward earnings. Apple doesn’t even have a forward P/E of 11. Any earnings misstep by Lululemon would lead to harsh selling pressure. (NASDAQ: PCLN):

Priceline was up 54% year-to-date when the market closed on Wednesday. That number is likely to be smaller by the time the market closes on Thursday following some concerning second-quarter guidance from the online travel reservations firm.


Priceline expects to earn $7.20 to $7.40 a share, excluding special charges, on an 18% to 23% revenue gain. Analysts expect a sales jump of 26.4%. The midpoint of the company's profit estimate is $7.30, less than the $7.38 forecast by analysts, according to Investor’s Business Daily. That was enough to send the shares down more than 3% in after-hours trading.


Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX):

Vertex accounts for less than half of a percent of the Nasdaq 100’s weight, but its performance has been huge recently. In the past week alone share of the biotech firm have soared more than 57% after the company announced positive trial results for its two-drug treatment for cystic fibrosis. Kalydeco along with an experimental drug, VX-809, showed improved breathing in patients participating in the trial.


This is good news not only for Vertex shareholders, but the patients as well because cystic fibrosis is currently incurable and kills most that suffer from it before they turn 40.

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