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People line up in front of an Apple store as they await sales of the new iPad in Munich in this file photo taken March 16, 2012. (MICHAELA REHLE/REUTERS)
People line up in front of an Apple store as they await sales of the new iPad in Munich in this file photo taken March 16, 2012. (MICHAELA REHLE/REUTERS)

For the S&P 500, new stocks have been the best stocks Add to ...

With the Dow Jones industrial average hitting a record high on Tuesday morning, all eyes are now on the S&P 500 – a broader index that does a better job of reflecting the equity landscape. Another 24 points, or 1.6 per cent, will do it.

It helps that Apple Inc. – a stock that is in the S&P 500 but not the Dow – has found some energy: On Tuesday in late morning trading, it rose 2.9 per cent after slumping to a fresh 52-week low on Monday.

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With the record books open in preparation for a new entry, there is going to be a lot of focus on stocks like Apple, or index components that have driven impressive gains during the spectacular stock market rebound of the past four years.

Bespoke Investment Group is off to an early start here, having already crunched the numbers to show which 10 stocks within the S&P 500 have seen the biggest gains since its last peak. The amazing thing here is that none of the 10 stocks on the list were actually in the S&P 500 10 years ago, according to Bespoke.

Netflix is the top performer, with a gain of 710 per cent since Oct. 9, 2007, but wasn’t added to the S&P 500 until December 2010 (replacing the New York Times). Priceline.com is second, with a gain of 676 per cent, but was added to the index in 2009. The list is rounded out with Perrigo, Alexion, Ross Stores, Cabot Oil & Gas, Edwards Lifesciences, Dollar Tree, Salesforce.com and MasterCard, with returns ranging from 222 per cent to 420 per cent.

So, while the index looks on track to make a full recovery to a new high, it is clear that it had some help: New stocks did a lot of the heavy lifting.

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