The top 5 stocks you should have bought a year ago

Now that the 2014 financial year has come to a close, it’s time to take a look at some of the best performers in the S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO).

Of course it’s always easier in hindsight to pick the stocks we should’ve picked up twelve months ago, but there are some valuable lessons nevertheless.

So without further ado, here are the top 5 performing stocks in the ASX 200…

Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST), a gold miner soared 115.4% last financial year, thanks to some astute purchases of a number of gold mines larger companies no longer wanted. As a result, Northern Star has moved from a gold mining minnow to Australia’s second largest producer. Who would’ve thought a gold stock would be the best performing stock over the past year?

Western Areas Ltd (ASX: WSA) has benefitted from surging nickel prices, thanks to a ban on exports of the raw ore by Indonesia. It also helps that the company is one of the lowest cost producers in the world – with cash costs continuing to fall – and that has seen Western Areas shares surge by 99.1%.

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd (ASX: DMP) added 96.9%, mainly thanks to adding a 75% stake in Domino’s Pizza Japan. The company continues to grow store numbers across Australia, New Zealand, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Monaco and Japan, and is the largest Domino’s franchisee in the world.

Independence Group NL (ASX: IGO) gained 92.5% in the 2014 financial year. Another nickel stock benefitting from Indonesia’s decision to impose restrictions on exports of nickel ore, Independence Group is also exposed to gold and zinc.

Aquila Resources Limited (ASX: AQA) has mainly benefitted from a $1.1 billion takeover offer, which saw the shares rise 37% in one day May 2014 alone. The coal and iron ore explorer is developing a $6 billion Pilbara Iron ore Project, but had experienced funding difficulties. That issue appears to have been resolved with the takeover offer by giant Chinese steel producer Baosteel.

So which stocks will be the best in the 2015 financial year? Here’s one we think has a good chance…

Discover our top dividend stock for 2014-2015

Every year, Motley Fool investment advisor Scott Phillips hand-picks 1 ASX dividend stock with outstanding potential. Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Dividend Stock for 2014-2015" today. Don't miss out on a stock other investors have already discovered.

Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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