Listed below are the highest performing expertise shares of 2021

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Traders work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Tech stocks have been far from a safe bet since its stretch run began in mid-November 2021. Inflation concerns and fears about rising interest rates pushed investors out of software and Internet companies and sent numerous former outperformers into correction territory.

Despite the sell-off and volatility in much of the tech industry, investors have made a lot of money betting on specific companies and stories. Certain areas of the semiconductor market have skyrocketed this year as the demand for processors that could accelerate crypto mining, aid game development, and connect more devices to the internet has increased.

Fintech, cloud software, and cybersecurity had their share too, though buying baskets of these stocks and holding them for the whole year wouldn’t have been a particularly lucrative investment.

Here are the top five 2021 biggest winners among U.S. tech companies valued at $ 5 billion or more. The list excludes companies that went public this year. The prices are as of Thursday.

upstart

When Upstart made its public debut in mid-December last year, the company was valued at approximately $ 1.5 billion. Just over a year later, it’s a $ 12 billion company.

The movers’ stocks are up 264% since early 2021, including a 171% surge from a wild three-day stretch in March.

The company uses machine learning to draw consumer credit and makes its technology available to banking partners who can then better target customers.

Revenue increased 250% to $ 228 million in the third quarter. In addition to its rapid growth, Upstart offers investors something unusual for a newly listed tech company: profits. Upstart has posted profits for five quarters in a row, including net income of $ 29.1 million in the most recent period compared to $ 9.7 million in the prior year.

Upstart said on its November conference call that it now offers technology services to 31 banks and credit unions, up from 10 a year ago. In the third quarter, the company issued 362,780 loans, 244% more than last year.

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Top Tech Stocks 2021

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CEO David Girouard said on the conference call that the company is now moving beyond personal and auto loans into small dollar loans for consumers with “immediate cash needs”.

“Our banking partners rightly feel pressured to better serve low- to middle-income Americans, and we want to help them get it right,” said Girouard. “Our banking and credit unions interest in the small dollar product is off the charts and we hope to get it to market before the end of 2022.”

Synapses

Synaptics was founded in 1986 and went public 16 years later. However, it wasn’t until 2020 before investors got excited about the stock. That year it went down and rose 189%.

Synaptics grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley and has developed touchpads and scrollpads for PCs as well as biometrics. His touch technology then found resonance in smartphones. With more devices acting like computers, Synaptics has now positioned itself at the center of the Internet of Things (IoT) boom.

The company’s technology can be found in connected cars, virtual reality headsets, set-top boxes, drones, and gaming systems. It focuses on low power consumption for all types of wireless devices.

“We did really well with this business – it exceeded our best expectations,” CEO Michael Hurlston told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in July. “I think that’s because we weren’t looking for what everyone else was chasing. We repositioned it to pursue an interesting market that turned out to be a great breeder.”

Earlier this month, Synaptics completed the $ 549 million acquisition of DSP Group, a provider of voice processing and wireless chipsets.

Asana

Asana CEO Dustin Moskovitz

Asana

At its peak in mid-November, Asana almost quintupled over the year, far outperforming all other US tech stocks. Since then, it has lost nearly half its value and has fallen alongside a host of other high-priced cloud software stocks.

Still, the provider of software that helps marketing, operations, and sales teams manage projects and collaborate remotely, grew 164% in 2021, driven by revenue growth of at least 70% in the second and third quarters versus the Previous year.

Like Upstart, Asana went public in 2020, but the coming-out party with investors took a few months to get started. Dustin Moskovitz, the billionaire co-founder and CEO of the company, bought on the side.

Moskovitz bought approximately $ 293 million worth of Asana shares in December, taking advantage of the decline to strengthen his position. He now controls approximately 44% of the company’s A and B shares combined, up from 36% prior to the company’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2020.

Converting free users to paying customers is key to Asana’s future growth and profitability. In its earnings report for the third quarter earlier this month, Asana said paying customers rose 7,000 to over 114,000, and revenue from customers who spend more than $ 5,000 a year was up 96% year over year.

Fortinet

Fortinet Inc. headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.

Tony Avelar | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With a revenue growth of over 30% in two consecutive quarters, Fortinet is growing faster than it has been since 2016. A spate of ransomware attacks coupled with a more complex security environment caused by a sudden surge in remote working drove the demand for Fortinet technology up this year.

Shares rose 133% to close at $ 349.02 on Thursday. That took the company’s market cap to over $ 57 billion, outperforming competitor Palo Alto Networks, which is valued at $ 55 billion after its stock rose 58% in 2021.

After the better-than-expected earnings report and Fortinet’s optimistic forecast last month, Wedbush analysts raised their target price from $ 350 to $ 400. One reason for this is the company’s free cash flow, which increased from $ 185.7 million last year to $ 329.8 million.

“In short, Billings’ upward growth, strong FCF and healthy pipeline should be the trifecta to propel this stock up,” wrote Wedbush analysts, who retained their Buy recommendation on the stock.

Nvidia

Nvidia GeForce now on the iPhone

Nvidia

Chip maker Nvidia was the top performing mega-cap tech stock of the year. Shares rose 127% in 2021, bringing the company’s market cap to $ 741 billion, the seventh largest among U.S. tech companies, behind the five big tech names and Tesla.

Revenue growth has exceeded 50% in each of the past five quarters, proving that Nvidia’s high-performance GPUs continue to be in hot demand. In the data center, Nvidia technology supports artificial intelligence and data-intensive workloads, while gaming systems continue to require higher computing power.

Earlier this year, Nvidia released new processors specifically for crypto mining. They’ve had $ 526 million in revenue so far, but crypto is proving to be a volatile market for Nvidia. The company announced last month that product sales dropped 60% sequentially from the second quarter to the third quarter and are expected to be “very negligible” in the fourth quarter.

Investors are not expressing great concern. The stock rose more than 8% according to the earnings report, largely because gaming processors, Nvidia’s core business, achieved sales of $ 2.76 billion, up 106% year over year.

“We continue to believe that the company’s long-term prospects are among the best in the semiconductor industry,” wrote analysts from Piper Sandler in a release following its third quarter results. They kept their buy rating and raised their price target from $ 260 to $ 350.

CLOCK: Nvidia could be a $ 10 trillion stock one day, says Jim Cramer

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