2023’s top-performing innovation stocks

2023’s major developments have included steep interest rates and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). While these have posed headwinds for many themes, certain stocks have been propelled to new heights this year.

  • Riot Platforms gains 404% year-to-date.
  • Nvidia’s dominant position in AI sees it pass $1trn market cap.
  • “Imprecise commentary” weighs on Tesla over the past month.

It has been a positive year for innovation stocks. Nasdaq 100 futures gained 39.3% in the year to 9 August, eclipsing the S&P 500’s 17.2% gains. While high inflation and interest rates have dragged on equities across sectors, the rise of generative AI has boosted technology stocks. Blockchain assets have also performed well, with proponents of decentralised finance viewing cryptocurrencies as a hedge against inflation. In order to highlight the themes and stocks that have outperformed the market, Opto has selected seven top-performing stocks from seven of 2023’s top-performing ETFs as of 8 August, each representing a different investment theme.

1. Riot Platforms

Cryptocurrency-miner Riot Platforms’ [RIOT] stock has gained 404.1% in 2023 as of 9 August, making it one of the year’s top performers — though this rapid pace has slowed to 1.4% over the last month. While the general crypto industry has seen enormous gains this year, Riot’s scale has made it stand out. A June purchase of 33,280 mining rigs is expected to nearly double the miner’s capacity to 20.1 exahashes per second.

2. DraftKings

Gains of 178.4% year-to-date for online gaming company DraftKings [DKNG] have made it the ARK Fintech Innovation ETF [ARKF]’s top-performing holding this year. The stock gained 9.9% over the past month, and management is bullish about its near-term chances of turning profitable.

3. Nvidia

Chipmakers have been among the biggest winners from AI’s explosion into prominence this year, and Nvidia [NVDA] has a dominant position in the space. Yearly gains of 205.7% have helped the company top a $1trn market cap, though growth slowed to 5.9% over the past month. 

4. Meta

The metaverse is expanding this year, with the Roundhill Metaverse ETF [METV] gaining 43.3% so far. After Nvidia, its top-performing holding is, unsurprisingly, Meta [META], which gained 159.8% year-to-date and 6.3% over the past month.

5. Tesla

Tesla’s [TSLA] stock has gained 102.7% year-to-date, suggesting a strong year for the company. However, the stock has dropped 7.4% in the past month. CNBC has attributed the decline to “imprecise commentary from CEO Elon Musk and other executives” around the Cybertruck during second-quarter (Q2) earnings. 

6. Upstart Holdings

The top-performing pure-play AI ETF this year is the WisdomTree Artificial Intelligence ETF [WTAI]. Its top-performing stock, surprisingly, isn’t a FAANG powerhouse, but AI-powered lending platform Upstart Holdings [UPST], whose shares gained 291.5% year-to-date and 25.5% in the past month.

7. MongoDB

MongoDB’s [MDB] Q1 earnings caused a major upside surprise, contributing to 88.1% year-to-date gains for the stock. Shares have fallen back by 6.2% in the last month, but CEO Dev Ittycheria’s comments following the earnings release highlight the opportunity AI presents to cloud providers as well as chipmakers.

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