Devon Energy, the largest producer of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (NGLs), is the first dark horse on our list. This year, the company has shown spectacular results, overtaking other giants in the oil and gas industry. Surging energy prices and recovering global demand boosted Devon Energy’s market capitalization. Since early 2021, the oil producer’s stock climbed 190%, beating other main companies listed in the S&P 500 index. Devon Energy’s market capitalization currently totals $30.5 billion, leaving behind oil industry giants such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. In early November, the company reported on sky-high earnings for the third quarter of 2021. Devon Energy's revenue soared by 225% to $3.47 billion. Its shares will remain an attractive investment instrument in 2022, experts emphasize. Devon Energy returns funds to shareholders in the form of increased dividends and stock buybacks. The oil producer’s management team has recently approved a $1 billion buyback program.
Macy’s is the second dark horse that overtook the leading companies listed in the S&P 500 index, including other retail giants, in 2021. Amid the vaccine rollout, the retailer has shown impressive performance as restrictions were eased and people returned to shopping malls. Investors were impressed with Macy’s strong business dynamics and a rebound in sales in Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury stores, luxury brands owned by the retailer. Macy’s stock swelled 148% in 2021, outshining other S&P 500 companies. The store chain hit its 3-year high in November and its market capitalization reached $8.3 billion. Recovering from the blow delivered by the pandemic, Macy’s managed to return former customers to its stores and attracted 4.4 million new customers in the 3rd quarter of 2021. Online sales were the main driving force behind a 19% increase in the company’s revenue in the third quarter. Macy's online sales now account for 33% of its net sales. The biggest store chain in the United States is forecast to obtain spectacular results in 2022.
Nucor, the largest producer of steel, is the third and last dark horse on our list of the leading S&P 500 companies in 2021. This year, Nucor has become the front runner in the metallurgical industry owing to a sharp rise in prices and mounting demand for products made of steel. The giant owns 23 steel mills in the United States. Its stock has soared by 114% since the beginning of the year, exceeding the market capitalization of many S&P 500 companies. Nucor boasts a market capitalization of $32.6 billion this year. The third quarter of 2021 turned out to be the most profitable period for the steel giant. Amid rising demand for steel, Nucor’s annual earnings per share jumped by 1,000% and revenue surged by 110%. Experts assume Nucor stock will rise in value amid the construction boom in the United States and growing demand for steel. The company is expected to show strong performance owing to President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan that aims to repair and replace roads, bridges, and airports throughout the country. So, Nucor will be able to increase sales of its steel products.