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Best get better

With another round of record highs this week among the major U.S. equity indexes and corresponding volatility numbers historically low, momentum among the largest stocks has been high overall. Slightly more than two-thirds of the 100 largest U.S. stocks outperformed their three-year annualized return over the 12-month period ended Sept. 30.

Among the 15 best three-year performers, only Amazon and Accenture took a step back in the past year. This isn't to say they performed poorly; Amazon was still up 14.8% on over the one-year period, but still behind its 44% annualized three-year number. Accenture had a less dramatic swing, returning about 10.6% over the one-year period, versus 18.4% over three-year. Financials have dominated the best performers over the past year with Bank of America, Citicorp and Morgan Stanley (MS) among the best stocks to own. The three have averaged a 55% return over the one-year period, significantly ahead of their 13% average return over the past three years.