Illumina

2014 Change: 77%
Market cap: $27.8 billion

Major holders at Sept. 30: Baillie Gifford (8.77%), Capital Research Global Investors (6.66%), Fidelity Management and Research (5.60%), Jennison Associates (5.33%), Morgan Stanley Investment Management (5.03%), Vanguard Group (3.80%), BlackRock Fund Advisors (2.62%), Artisan Partners (2.57%)

Why is it up? Illumina ($ILMN) kicked off 2014 with big plans for growth, eyeing an expanded market for its diagnostic products and innovative gene-sequencing technology. The company did not disappoint investors, charting eye-popping revenue of $481 million in Q3 2014--a 35% jump over the same quarter last year and the company's highest growth rate since the second quarter of 2011. Illumina CEO Jay Flatley attributed the eye-popping numbers to increased demand for the company's sequencing technology, including its HiSeq X Ten and NextSeq 500 systems. Promising performance of its sequencing systems, coupled with recent dealmaking and R&D, give the company a strong foothold for the coming year. "With the most powerful and well positioned sequencing portfolio available, we're witnessing a robust uptick of our products and expansion into new markets," Flatley said when the company unveiled its Q3 earnings. "Our focus on research, development and overall innovation is stronger than ever and looking ahead we expect to deliver a significant growth as we unlock the power of the genome."

What comes next? Illumina's upward trajectory isn't set to end anytime soon, according to Morningstar analyst Michael Waterhouse. The company leads the pack in genome sequencing, and accelerated demand for Illumina's products and strong numbers will likely sustain high earnings growth in the coming year, Waterhouse said. In particular, the company continues to forge ahead with its HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System, devices that could reduce sequencing costs and deliver on a long-promised $1,000 genome. Illumina recently announced that it would sell its HiSeq X system in a smaller, five-instrument bundle, helping it keep a leg up on its competition. Earlier this month, Waterhouse pegged the company's per-share price at $220 and forecast continued growth in 2015. "Illumina's ongoing innovation and capital allocation should preserve the company's growth opportunities and returns on capital," he said.

ILMN Chart

ILMN data by YCharts

For more:
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-- Emily Wasserman (email | Twitter)

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