Here are the 10 top stocks since 1990.
Trying to pick which stocks will perform best over a given day or week can be fun and exciting. However, most investors aren’t short-term traders or market speculators. Instead, the majority of U.S. investors are trying to cultivate a nest egg that will grow over the long term and potentially boost their quality of life in retirement. Compound Capital Advisors recently compiled a list of the 10 best-performing stocks in the market over the past 30 years. These stocks can provide some insight for investors looking to identify the top stocks to own for the next 30 years.
Amazon.com (ticker: AMZN)
Perhaps the least surprising stock on this list is e-commerce and cloud services leader Amazon. The company went public in May 1997. Since that time, Amazon and its stock have gone on a historic run. Over the years, Amazon has pivoted from a niche online bookstore to a $1.6 trillion online marketplace juggernaut. In the 23-plus years since its initial public offering, Amazon has generated a total return of 212,922%, more than any other stock in the past 30 years. In fact, $10,000 invested in AMZN stock back in 1997 would now be worth $21.3 million.
Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST)
Amazon is certainly no surprise, but Monster Beverage has been an under-the-radar home run investment since its August 1995 IPO. In 25 years, Monster has generated a total return of 212,468%, second only to Amazon. In 2015, Monster struck a deal with Coca-Cola (KO) in which Coca-Cola took a 19% ownership stake in Monster in return for Coca-Cola becoming Monster’s primary global distributor. Since its IPO, Monster shares have generated an average annual return of 35.4%. A $10,000 stake in MNST stock in 1995 would now be worth more than $21.2 million.
Jack Henry & Associates (JKHY)
Jack Henry & Associates is one of the earliest fintech companies, offering technology solutions and payment processing services to its customers in the financial sector. Jack Henry & Associates went public in November 1985 and has generated a cumulative return of 212,322% for shareholders. The company’s 29.1% annualized return since 1990 is the highest among stocks that have been around for at least 30 years. The stock is showing no signs of slowing down, generating about a 500% total return in the past decade. A $10,000 investment in JKHY stock in 1990 would now be worth about $21.2 million.
Cerner Corp. (CERN)
Cerner is one of the largest public health care information technology companies. Cerner went public way back in December 1986 and has generated a 142,419% return for investors over the past 30 years. Cerner was an early mover in automating health care processes, a transition that is still taking place. Since 1990, Cerner has generated an average annual return of 27.4% for shareholders. Unfortunately, Cerner’s growth has slowed, and the stock is up just about 10% overall in the past three years. Still, $10,000 invested in CERN stock 30 years ago would now be worth $14.2 million.
Best Buy Co. (BBY)
Given consumer electronics retailers like Circuit City and Radio Shack have been crushed by Amazon and other online competitors, the fact that Best Buy is among the 10 best-performing stocks of the past 30 years is a testament to the company’s resiliency and adaptability. When Best Buy went public in 1987, the company was selling cassette tapes and VCRs. Today, Best Buy is selling smartphones and tablets. Since 1990, Best Buy has generated a total return of 108,511%, or about 26.2% annually. A $10,000 investment in BBY stock in 1990 would now be worth $10.9 million.
Ross Stores (ROST)
Like Best Buy, Ross Stores’ apparel retail competitors like Forever 21 and J.C. Penney have been crushed by Amazon. But while other retailers are fighting to survive, Ross has thrived. The company went public in August 1985. In the past 30 years, its stock has generated a total return of 81,286%, or about 25% annually. Unfortunately, Ross shares have been flat in 2020 and have significantly lagged the S&P 500 due to economic shutdowns. Despite the disappointing year-to-date performance, a $10,000 investment in ROST stock in 1990 would now be worth $8.1 million.
Kansas City Southern (KSU)
Twenty years into the 21st century, it may be extremely surprising to learn that one of the 10 best stocks of the past 30 years has been a railroad company. Kansas City Southern was founded in 1887 and went public in November 1962. In 2020, trains are still the most cost-effective way to haul large freight loads across the country. In the past 30 years, shares of Kansas City Southern have generated a total return of 78,464%. A $10,000 investment in KSU stock back in 1990 would now be worth $7.8 million.
UnitedHealth Group (UNH)
UnitedHealth is one of the biggest U.S. health insurance providers. United went public in October 1991 and has generated a total return of 63,395% for investors over the past 29 years. That gain works out to an averaged annual return of 24.8%. UnitedHealth was even added to the prestigious Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2012. UnitedHealth shares are still going strong, as the stock has more than doubled the total return of the S&P 500 since 2015. A $10,000 investment in UNH stock back in 1990 would now be worth $6.3 million.
Altria Group (MO)
Global tobacco giant Altria may be another surprise top market performer of the past 30 years. The company went public in July 1985. Despite major public relations and regulatory pressures on the tobacco industry in recent years, Altria shares have gained 61,599% overall in the past three decades, with a 23.9% average annual return. Today, Altria’s revenue growth has slowed to a crawl. The stock is down about 14% in 2020, but Altria still pays a sizable 8% dividend. A $10,000 investment in MO stock in 1990 would now be worth $6.2 million.
Idexx Laboratories (IDXX)
Idexx Laboratories produces health care diagnostics and veterinary equipment for both pet animals and livestock. The company went public in 1991 and has generated a total return of 50,022%, an average annual gain of 23.5% over 29 years. Unlike other stocks that have slowed in recent years, Idexx has caught fire. In the past five years, Idexx has generated a total return of about 580%. A $10,000 investment in IDXX stock in 1991 would now be worth $5 million.
Top stock performers over the last three decades:
— Amazon.com (AMZN)
— Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST)
— Jack Henry & Associates (JKHY)
— Cerner Corp. (CERN)
— Best Buy Co. (BBY)
— Ross Stores (ROST)
— Kansas City Southern (KSU)
— UnitedHealth Group (UNH)
— Altria Group (MO)
— Idexx Laboratories (IDXX)
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