Nasdaq Stocks Post the Biggest Gains in 2015

Nasdaq stocksNasdaq stocks continue to outperform the other markets in 2015.

The Nasdaq Composite surged another 3% last week, and it's up more than 7% in the last month.  Year to date, it has climbed 6.3%. That makes the Nasdaq the best major market in the United States this year.

In 2015, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped 1.4%, while the S&P 500 Index is up just 0.1%.

On April 23, the Nasdaq Composite actually topped its all-time closing peak of 5,058 hit 15 years ago.

Many of the biggest and best-known Silicon Valley companies are listed on the Nasdaq, and they've been leading the Nasdaq stocks this year.

An improving U.S. economy and an employment rate approaching normal levels has been a strong catalyst for all U.S. stocks. Growing consumer sentiment and spending, boosted by rising wages, have also helped Nasdaq stocks. Plus, loose global monetary policies and a longer than expected pause on an interest rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve have fueled gains.

Here's a look at five of the best performing Nasdaq stocks in 2015...

Top Nasdaq Stocks No. 1: Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX)

Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) has been one of the top Nasdaq stocks in 2015. On June 23, the video streaming giant announced a 7-for-1 stock split. The move was highly anticipated as the stock had skyrocketed 182% over the previous year. That made Netflix the fourth highest priced stock in the S&P 500. Earlier this month, NFLX reported steady subscriber growth both in the United States and abroad. That backs reports that many consumers are moving to online and on-demand platforms and away from traditional network and cable television. Netflix has also had major success with original content. Shares are up 500% over the last five years and 109.8% year to date.

Continue reading for four more of the top Nasdaq stocks on the market today...

Top Nasdaq Stocks No. 2: Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) shares are up 97.6% in 2015. The e-commerce giant just reported its second consecutive quarterly profit, with retail-related revenue up 20% year over year. On July 24, Amazon surpassed Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) as the world's biggest retailer. The calendar is now entering the holiday shopping season, Amazon's sweet spot. Further gains in the near term are likely.

Top Nasdaq Stocks No. 3: Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL)

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Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL) - formerly Google Inc. - shares are up 37.4% year to date. The company reported a blowout quarter last week, with a 13% revenue increase. In a nod of confidence that shares still look like a buy, the company authorized the repurchase of up to $5 billion of its Class C stock. Rich Ross, of Evercore ISI, told CNBC that Alphabet's long-term chart shows a key breakout that should take shares much higher. Ross sees Alphabet reaching $850 in the short term before eventually hitting $950.

Top Nasdaq Stocks No. 4: Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB)

Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) shares hit an all-time high of $104.10 today (Tuesday) and are up an impressive 32.9% year to date. The social media goliath continues to show it's a master in monetizing the mobile ad market space. The company also continues to expand its global reach and launch new initiatives. FB reports earnings on Nov. 4 after the close. Estimates are for earnings per share (EPS) of $0.52. That's up from EPS forecasts of $0.50 three months ago. It would also be almost 21% higher than last year's EPS figure.

Top Nasdaq Stocks No. 5: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) on Oct. 22 delivered healthy quarterly earnings, with revenue rising 6.5% year over year. The software giant also revealed robust gains in its budding commercial cloud division, proving it is a seasoned company that is transitioning into a new growth phase. Showing its commitment to rewarding shareholders, MSFT hiked its quarterly dividend to $0.36 and bought back shares worth $6.9 billion during the quarter. Shares are up a not-too-shabby 16.3% year to date.

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