As shown in the chart below, the S&P 500 was down 11.7% in the first quarter of 2009. Six sectors outperformed the index, while four underperformed. The Financial sector was by far the worst performer with a decline of 29.5%. Industrials, Energy, and Utilities were the three other sectors that underperformed the market as a whole. Only one sector finished the quarter in positive territory -- Technology (4%). Consumer Staples, Consumer Discretionary, Health Care, Telecom, and Materials are the other five sectors that outperformed the market.
Below we highlight the 25 best performing stocks (>$3/share) in the Russell 3,000 for the first quarter. Just 28% of stocks in the index were up for the quarter, while 2% were up more than 50%. The stocks below were all up more than 65%. Providence Service (PRSC) was up the most with a gain of 374%, followed by DuPont Fabros (DFT), Palm (PALM), and gun-maker Smith & Wesson. Other notables on the list of winners include Sprint, Whole Foods, Western Digital, and Coinstar.