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4 stocks that have smashed the market in 2013

Despite experiencing heavy falls in May and December, the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has still managed to deliver investors with a fantastic return of 13.3%, driven by low interest rates and a massive stimulus program implemented by the US Federal Reserve.

While a number of widely held companies, including the big four banks, Telstra (ASX: TLS), Woolworths (ASX: WOW), Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) and CSL (ASX: CSL) have performed strongly in that time, their gains have been nothing compared to those realised by other companies.

Here are four companies which have smashed the market this calendar year:

Xero (ASX: XRO) has seen its shares soar from just $6.05 per share to $29.91 over the course of the year – an incredible 394%. The New Zealand-based company, which provides a platform for online accounting and business services, has been described by investment bank Credit Suisse as the “Apple of accounting”. Shares have taken a breather since the beginning of November when they hit a high of $36.50.

Specialty discount retailer JB Hi-Fi (ASX: JBH) defied volatile consumer confidence with its shares skyrocketing 103%. While the company has faced intense competition (particularly with the rapid rise of the online retail sector), it said in October that it was on track to grow sales by up to 8% in FY14 as it opened new stores, which could continue to drive the company’s shares ever higher. Harvey Norman (ASX: HVN) has also gained a solid 62% since the beginning of the year.

A recent battle by various parties to acquire Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory (ASX: WCB) has seen its shares soar 157% over the past year. Most of that has come since mid-September when Bega Cheese (ASX: BGA) made a bid worth around $320 million for the company, with shares gaining 105% since that time!

Foolish takeaway

There is no way of knowing how the stock market will perform in 2014, or whether investors should expect another year of double digit gains. However, by investing in quality companies trading at discounted prices, you are well-positioned to recognise excellent gains in the long-term.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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