Hottest Stocks of the Bull Market: Buy, Sell or Hold?

Wall Street's ratings on the hottest stocks since the bear-market bottom just might surprise you.

hotttest stocks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's official, folks: the bull market that began bubbling last spring was finally confirmed in early January when the S&P 500 closed above its prior record set almost exactly two years ago.

That's an unusually long time to go between all-time highs, and it's not the only distinctive thing about this market.

It's easy to make too much about narrow leadership, but there is something broadly bifurcated about this bull market. It's no secret a handful of mega-cap tech sector and communications services names – also known as the Magnificent 7 stocks – have done much of the bull market's heavy lifting.

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Consider this: The S&P 500 generated a total return (plus change plus dividends) of 26% last year, but the equal-weight S&P 500, which treats every component the same regardless of market cap, returned less than 14%. 

You can see this divergence in performance in a list of the S&P 500's hottest stocks since the market bottomed out in October 2022. Although the Magnificent 7 find themselves ably represented by Nvidia (NVDA) and Meta Platforms (META), a mix of stocks from disparate sectors – industrials, materials and leisure & hospitality, for example – also made the cut.

Hottest stocks: buy, sell or hold?

We wanted to see if Wall Street was still bullish on the hottest stocks since the market bottom. After all, the names below have more than doubled and then some since late 2022. Valuations can get stretched after such a run, leading to lower future returns. 

To that end, we used data from S&P Global Market Intelligence to identify the S&P 500 stocks that generated the highest total returns from the market closing low of October 12, 2022 through January 24, 2024. 

We then delved into what industry analysts think of these stocks' prospects going forward. You can see their consensus recommendations and scores in the table below. 

A note on the scoring system: S&P Global Market Intelligence surveys analysts' stock recommendations and scores them on a five-point scale, where 1.0 equals Strong Buy and 5.0 means Strong Sell. Any score of 2.5 or lower means that analysts, on average, rate the stock a Buy. The closer the score gets to 1.0, the stronger the Buy call. 

In other words, lower scores are better than higher scores.

Below please find the hottest S&P 500 stocks of the bull market and how the Street rates them now.

hot stocks

(Image credit: Kiplinger, S&P Global Market Intelligence)

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Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer,

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate, cost of living indexes and more.

Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.