The 20 Best-Performing Stocks of the Last Decade
Hindsight is 20/20. It can be incredibly difficult to pick the “next big stock” in the moment, but looking back gives us clarity on where we could have reaped the highest rewards. While some of the decade’s chart-toppers—like Netflix and Amazon—are household names, other stocks may come as a surprise.
Today’s visualization reveals the best-performing stocks over the last 10 years, and shows how much an initial $100 investment would be worth today.
To compile the list, MarketWatch reviewed the current S&P 500 constituents and excluded any stocks that have traded in their present form for less than 10 years. The remaining companies were sorted based on their total return, with reinvested dividends, from December 31, 2009 to December 5, 2019.
So, which stocks come out on top? Here’s a full list of the top 20, organized by ranking:
|Rank||Company||Ticker||Final Value of $100 Investment||S&P 500 Sector|
|1||Netflix Inc.||NASDAQ: NFLX||$3,867||Communication Services|
|2||MarketAxess Holdings Inc.||NASDAQ: MKTX||$3,282||Financials|
|3||Abiomed Inc.||NASDAQ: ABMD||$2,221||Health Care|
|4||TransDigm Group Inc.||NYSE: TDG||$2,165||Industrials|
|5||Broadcom Inc.||NASDAQ: AVGO||$2,019||Information Technology|
|6||Align Technology Inc.||NASDAQ: ALGN||$1,558||Health Care|
|7||United Rentals Inc.||NYSE: URI||$1,534||Industrials|
|8||Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.||NASDAQ: REGN||$1,530||Health Care|
|9||Ulta Beauty Inc.||NASDAQ: ULTA||$1,333||Consumer Discretionary|
|10||Amazon.com Inc.||NASDAQ: AMZN||$1,309||Consumer Discretionary|
|11||Extra Space Storage Inc.||NYSE: EXR||$1,266||Real Estate|
|12||Constellation Brands Inc. Class A||NYSE: STZ||$1,224||Consumer Staples|
|13||Nvidia Corp.||NASDAQ: NVDA||$1,217||Information Technology|
|14||Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.||NASDAQ: TTWO||$1,214||Information Technology|
|15||Ross Stores Inc.||NASDAQ: ROST||$1,181||Consumer Discretionary|
|16||Fortinet Inc.||NASDAQ: FTNT||$1,179||Information Technology|
|17||Mastercard Inc. Class A||NYSE: MA||$1,178||Information Technology|
|18||Charter Communications Inc. Class A||NASDAQ: CHTR||$1,177||Communication Services|
|19||O'Reilly Automotive Inc.||NASDAQ: ORLY||$1,160||Consumer Discretionary|
|20||Cintas Corp.||NASDAQ: CTAS||$1,153||Industrials|
Note: The final value of a $100 investment is based on the total return, with reinvested dividends, from December 31, 2009 – December 5, 2019.
In comparison, $100 in the S&P 500 index overall would have amounted to $344 over the same time period. Let’s take a closer look at these strong performers.
Streaming giant Netflix takes the #1 spot. The company earned a staggering 3,767% return over the last ten years, meaning an initial $100 investment would now be worth almost $4,000. However, it remains to be seen whether Netflix’s first mover advantage will remain strong with new competitors entering the space.
One such rival, Amazon, takes its spot at #10 in the best-performing stocks of the decade. From its humble roots as an online bookseller, the company has transformed into an ecommerce leader. CEO Jeff Bezos credits Amazon’s admirable success to three key customer-centric factors: listen, invent, and personalize.
At #12 on the list, Constellation Brands—owner of several alcohol brands such as Corona—is also no stranger to invention. The company is protecting itself against cannabidiol (CBD) disruption with a $5 billion dollar investment in Canopy Growth, and future plans to create its own CBD-infused beverages.
Other well-known names on the top 20 list include discount department store chain Ross Stores (#15) and the credit card company Mastercard (#17), with the latter benefiting from an oligopoly in the industry.
Flying Under the Radar
Apart from the names you’d expect to see, there are also some lesser-known companies that made the list.
Well established among institutional investors and broker-dealers, MarketAxess Holdings takes the #2 spot. The fintech company operates a global electronic bond trading platform, vastly improving the process for investors who traditionally traded bonds “over-the-counter”.
In third place, healthcare technology company Abiomed develops medical devices that provide circulatory support. The company’s Impella® device—the world’s smallest heart pump— has been used to treat over 50,000 U.S. patients.
Fourth place company Transdigm Group gains its stronghold by developing specialized products for the aerospace industry. It has a strong acquisition strategy as well, having acquired over 60 businesses since its formation in 1993.
A Sector View
If we organize the top 20 by sector, information technology stocks appear in the list most frequently with five companies, followed by consumer discretionary (4 companies), and industrials and healthcare (3 companies each).
Sectors with less representation in the top 20 are communication services (2 companies), as well as consumer staples, financials, and real estate (1 company each).
The Bottom Line
While these stocks have performed extremely well over the last decade, they are not necessarily the best portfolio additions today. Some companies may have become overvalued, or be facing new competition in their industry—as is the case with Netflix. It’s best to consider all current information when building a portfolio.
However, the top 20 stocks do demonstrate the power of a buy-and-hold strategy. If you’re lucky enough to identify a winner early on, it’s possible to simply sit back and let your dollars grow.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs Since 2020
How bad are the current layoffs in the tech sector? This visual reveals the 20 biggest tech layoffs since the start of the pandemic.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs This Decade
The events of the last few years could not have been predicted by anyone. From a global pandemic and remote work as the standard, to a subsequent hiring craze, rising inflation, and now, mass layoffs.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, essentially laid off the equivalent of a small town just weeks ago, letting go of 12,000 people—the biggest layoffs the company has ever seen in its history. Additionally, Amazon and Microsoft have also laid off 10,000 workers each in the last few months, not to mention Meta’s 11,000.
This visual puts the current layoffs in the tech industry in context and ranks the 20 biggest tech layoffs of the 2020s using data from the tracker, Layoffs.fyi.
The Top 20 Layoffs of the 2020s
Since 2020, layoffs in the tech industry have been significant, accelerating in 2022 in particular. Here’s a look at the companies that laid off the most people over the last three years.
|Rank||Company||# Laid Off||% of Workforce||As of|
Layoffs were high in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, halting the global economy and forcing staff reductions worldwide. After that, things were steady until the economic uncertainty of last year, which ultimately led to large-scale layoffs in tech—with many of the biggest cuts happening in the past three months.
The Cause of Layoffs
Most workforce slashings are being blamed on the impending recession. Companies are claiming they are forced to cut down the excess of the hiring boom that followed the pandemic.
Additionally, during this hiring craze competition was fierce, resulting in higher salaries for workers, which is now translating in an increased need to trim the fat thanks to the current economic conditions.
Of course, the factors leading up to these recent layoffs are more nuanced than simple over-hiring plus recession narrative. In truth, there appears to be a culture shift occurring at many of America’s tech companies. As Rani Molla and Shirin Ghaffary from Recode have astutely pointed out, tech giants really want you to know they’re behaving like scrappy startups again.
Twitter’s highly publicized headcount reduction in late 2022 occurred for reasons beyond just macroeconomic factors. Elon Musk’s goal of doing more with a smaller team seemed to resonate with other founders and executives in Silicon Valley, providing an opening for others in tech space to cut down on labor costs as well. In just one example, Mark Zuckerberg hailed 2023 as the “year of efficiency” for Meta.
Meanwhile, over at Google, 12,000 jobs were put on the chopping block as the company repositions itself to win the AI race. In the words of Google’s own CEO:
“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today… We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.”– Sundar Pichai
The Bigger Picture in the U.S. Job Market
Beyond the tech sector, job openings continue to rise. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed a total of 11 million job openings across the U.S., an increase of almost 7% month-over-month. This means that for every unemployed worker in America right now there are 1.9 job openings available.
Additionally, hiring increased significantly in January, with employers adding 517,000 jobs. While the BLS did report a decrease in openings in information-based industries, openings are increasing rapidly especially in the food services, retail trade, and construction industries.
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