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Some years are remembered by investors for catastrophic market plunges. Think 1929 or 2008. Others are marked by frenzied excesses, such as the dot-com craze in 1999.

The year now winding down has no such memorable characteristics. Rather, it was a grinder, one that relentlessly eroded the value of our portfolios, month after month. It didn’t matter whether you held bonds or stocks or crypto, everything was hammered.

Well, almost everything. There were some sparks of light on the TSX. Some stocks bucked the downtrend and are ending 2022 with decent gains.

Here are some of the winners from my Internet Wealth Builder recommended list. If you owned a few of these, they helped ease the pain of the broad market pullback.

Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TOU-T). The TSX fared better than any of the U.S. indexes primarily because of the strength of the energy sector, more specifically fossil fuel companies. They may be headed for dinosaur land in the not-too-distant future, but right now they’re what’s keeping many portfolios afloat. Calgary-based Tourmaline is a relatively new, well-managed business that emerged as the country’s top natural gas producer after Encana pulled up stakes and moved to the U.S., changing its name in the process. Tourmaline stock is up 82.1 per cent for the year. But that doesn’t include dividends. Along with its regular 22.5-cent quarterly dividend (which is increasing to 25 cents with the next payment) the company will pay out four regular dividends and four special dividends this year for a total of $7.90. Investors who owned the stock at the start of the year, when it was trading at $40.84, ended with a total return of 101.4 per cent.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. (L-T). You know it has been a good year for the food industry when politicians start trying to score points by criticizing rising prices. Makes great sound bites but never achieves much. Meantime, companies such as Loblaw and Metro keep padding the bottom line. Loblaw stock is ahead 20 per cent year-to-date and the dividend was increased 11 per cent in mid-year.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD-T). Inflation, war, rate hikes – no matter how bad the times people still need gas (grumbling all the way). A bag of chips and a pop to wash it down help to ease shattered nerves and contribute to Couch-Tard’s bottom line. The stock is ahead almost 19 per cent for the year. The quarterly dividend was recently increased by 27 per cent to 14 cents a share.

Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR-T). Despite the threat of a recession lurking just over the horizon, both our major railways managed to stay on the plus side in 2022. CN, which is our pick, ended 2021 at $155.38. It has gained about 11 per cent in 2022 so far. Add dividends of $2.93 a share and the total return is 12.9 per cent.

Winpak Ltd. (WPK-T). Little-known companies can sometimes shine in tough times. Winnipeg-based Winpak is one example. It manufactures packaging and related packaging machines. The company’s goods are used primarily in food, beverages and health care applications, with its modified atmosphere packaging used to extend the shelf life of perishable foods such as meats, poultry and cheeses as well as medical devices. It’s a low-profile business. The shares are down from the 52-week high reached in October but are still up 13 per cent for the year. The stock pays a small dividend.

Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV-T). After a mid-year slump, gold is shining again with the price edging above US$1,800 an ounce last week. Gold mining stocks are reacting as you might expect. The S&P/TSX Global Gold Index is up about 16 per cent in the current quarter, although it is still in the red year-to-date. My favourite gold stock, which I have owned for many years, is royalty streamer Franco-Nevada. The shares are up 11.7 per cent this year plus the company has raised its dividend four times, albeit by small amounts.

These are just a few of the many stocks on our recommended list that are making money this year. What’s interesting is the diversity. The energy sector is faring best, but we’re finding winners in many other sectors. As for next year, look to those areas of the economy that have done badly in 2022. I suggest you start with real estate. The whole sector looks deeply oversold.

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