Richard Levine—Alamy
By Ian Salisbury and Jacob Davidson
December 23, 2014

It was a good year to be in the stock market. With the economy finally seeming to hit its stride, the S&P 500 — comprising the 500 biggest U.S. companies — has so far returned about 12%, compared to an annual average of just above 5% over the past decade.

Of course, the spoils weren’t evenly shared. Factors like falling oil prices and America’s continuing infatuation with gadgets and social media meant some stocks were big winners, while others actually left shareholders poorer — on paper — than they were in 2013.

Here’s a selective look at some of the year’s hottest and coldest S&P 500 stocks, with a focus on companies that many consumers interact with every day.

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