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Should you buy the best performing shares of 2017?

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) has managed to post a respectable gain of 2.5% for the year-to-date, but that is nothing compared to some of the gains posted by the shares below:

Company Market Cap* P/E Ratio Dividend Yield Year-to-date Gain 5 Year Total Return
Auscann Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: AC8)
$89 million 348% N/A
Summit Resources Ltd (Australia) (ASX: SMM)
$83 million 320% -25.4%
Macphersons Resources Ltd (ASX: MRP)
$83 million 258% -1.4%
MMJ Phytotech Ltd (ASX: MMJ) $136 million 212% N/A
SKY and Space Global Ltd (ASX: SAS)
$124 million 173% N/A
Flinders Mines Limited (ASX: FMS)
$246 million 119% -23.4%
Global Geoscience Limited (ASX: GSC)
$150 million 111% 17.4%
Cardinal Resources Ltd (ASX: CDV)
$147 million 101% 26.5%
Champion Iron Ltd (ASX: CIA)
$380 million 95.6% 34.9%
Iron Road Limited (ASX: IRD)
$190 million 85.2% -13.5%

Source: CommSec  

*Please note, I have excluded shares with a market capitalisation of less than $80 million.

Unfortunately, it would be very difficult to consider any of the shares listed above as investment grade material.

In fact, it is pretty clear that most investors should steer well-clear of the shares above considering that not a single company managed to turn a profit over the past year. On top of that, it is hard to envisage any of these companies as having the ability to pay out a dividend anytime soon.

Nonetheless, there are some interesting companies on that list and it is not hard to see why some traders may be interested in them.

For example, Auscann and MMJ Phytotech operate in the medical marijuana sector and perhaps have the most credible prospects of those listed on the ASX. There is no doubt that the sector could be highly lucrative, but it still remains unclear exactly how these companies will develop a long-term competitive advantage.

Uranium, cobalt, lithium, gold and iron ore miners are also represented in the list above. Cobalt and lithium shares have been particularly popular over the last few months as some analysts have forecast huge demand for these minerals as a result of the growing demand for rechargeable batteries. Unfortunately, many of these smaller players are competing against much larger competitors who are likely to bring a higher level of expertise and scale to their operations.

Finally, Sky and Space Global is an exciting company that is developing nano-satellite technology aimed at providing telecommunications services to over 4 billion people. The company has an ambitious target of rolling out around 200 satellites over a five-year time frame, but with only three satellites contracted so far, this target seems a like a universe away.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.