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Will the winning stocks of 2014 fly higher in 2015?

As 2014 draws to a close, the S&P/ASX 300 (Index: ^AXKO) (ASX: XKO) is set to finish the year down just over 3%. It’s a disappointing performance for the market index which will be reflected in low portfolio returns for many investors particularly those with superannuation funds which hug the index.

Despite the overall lethargic performance of the market as a whole, as will always be the case, individual stock performances varied greatly from the average.

Here are four stocks (all members of the S&P/ASX 300 Index) which have absolutely blitzed the index, no doubt to the surprise of many…

  1. Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) began the year barely above $1 per share. The stock slowly but steadily climbed to $1.50 by September and since then it has raced higher – largely thanks to declining oil prices – to hit a high of $2.57. Currently shareholders are sitting on a year-to-date gain of 107%.
  2. Indophil Resources NL (ASX: IRN) is a gold and copper explorer focused on South East Asia. A take-over offer from a Philippines-based company is largely behind the 70% share price rally.
  3. Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) has been a stand-out amongst its gold mining peers. With the gold price having struggled all year, the near 51% gain in Northern Star’s gold price has made it a “star” performer!
  4. Transfield Services Limited’s (ASX: TSE) share price has gained 90.5% over the course of 2014 which is remarkable when you consider the ongoing pressures and headwinds facing contractors, particularly those exposed to the mining and energy sectors.

Stock picking is what counts!

A “common” theme linking all four of these stocks is that there is nothing common about them. Their individual, strong performances are based on company-specific factors which can only be captured by investors who spend their time researching and focussing on picking stocks.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.