20 biggest stock gainers

Investors in these Fortune 500 companies took big risks and saw even bigger rewards in 2012.

US Airways
fortune 500 stock gainers us airways
Fortune 500 rank: 199
2012 sales: $13.8 bil
2012 total return: 166.3%

Shareholders cheered when the nation's fifth-largest airline by revenue officially became the world's biggest airline, thanks to its merger with bankrupt American Airlines.

A judge approved the deal in February, which helped give US Airways shares another boost after they tripled in value since the start of 2012, shortly after it began pursuing the deal. US Airways also flew fuller planes and enjoyed cheaper fuel costs. In 2012, earnings jumped to $637 million -- up dramatically from $71 million the previous year.

In the year ahead, the airline is expected to close its deal with American. US Airways Chief Executive Doug Parker is expected to serve as CEO of the new airline.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 17 2013 11:38 AM ET
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Wal-Mart retook the top spot, Berkshire Hathaway made the top five, and Apple grew enormously.

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