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The 25 Best Stocks by Shareholder Wealth Creation (1926-2022)

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The 25 best stocks shown as bubbles, sized according to the shareholder wealth they have generated since 1926 or when they were first listed on a U.S. stock exchange. Apple is number one and has generated $2.7 trillion in shareholder wealth.

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The 25 Best Stocks by Shareholder Wealth Creation (1926-2022)

Out of 28,114 publicly-listed U.S. companies analyzed over the last century, the 25 best stocks have created nearly a third of all shareholder wealth. Put another way, just 0.1% of stocks have added over $17.6 trillion to investors’ wallets.

In this graphic, we use data from Henrik Bessembinder of Arizona State University to show the best stocks of the last century.

How is Shareholder Wealth Creation Calculated?

Bessembinder took three steps to measure lifetime shareholder wealth creation:

  1. Considered U.S. stocks in the Center for Research in Security Prices database from 1926 (or when the stock was first listed) until 2022 (or when the stock was delisted).
  2. Measured share price changes as well as cash flows to/from shareholders including dividends, spinoffs, share buybacks, and new share issuances.
  3. Calculated the excess wealth generated compared to investing in one-month Treasury bills over the same time period.

If a company exited the database during the period, Bessembinder calculated its delisting return based on any proceeds from mergers or acquisitions as well as estimates of any remaining value after delistings for negative reasons.

GM is the only company within the top 25 to be delisted prior to December 2022. Its second IPO in 2010 was considered a new company and not continuous wealth creation.

The 25 Best Stocks in Modern History

With this definition in mind, here are the best stocks since 1926.

RankCompany Lifetime Wealth Creation First MonthLast Month
1APPLE$2.7TJan‐81Dec‐22
2MICROSOFT$2.1TApr‐86Dec‐22
3EXXON MOBIL$1.2TJul‐26Dec‐22
4ALPHABET$1.0TSep‐04Dec‐22
5AMAZON$764BJun‐97Dec‐22
6BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY$704BNov‐76Dec‐22
7JOHNSON & JOHNSON$661BOct‐44Dec‐22
8WALMART$629BDec‐72Dec‐22
9CHEVRON$583BJul‐26Dec‐22
10PROCTER & GAMBLE$581BSep‐29Dec‐22
11IBM$563BJul‐26Dec‐22
12UNITEDHEALTH GROUP$551BNov‐84Dec‐22
13ALTRIA GROUP$490BJul‐26Dec‐22
14MERCK & CO$478BJun‐46Dec‐22
15HOME DEPOT$477BOct‐81Dec‐22
16COCA COLA$474BJul‐26Dec‐22
17GENERAL ELECTRIC$463BJul‐26Dec‐22
18JPMORGAN CHASE$459BApr‐69Dec‐22
19GENERAL MOTORS$454BJul‐26Jun‐09
20ELI LILLY$418BAug‐70Dec‐22
21ORACLE$383BApr‐86Dec‐22
22VISA$372BApr‐08Dec‐22
23MASTERCARD$370BJun‐06Dec‐22
24PEPSICO$369BJul‐26Dec‐22
25PFIZER$350BFeb‐44Dec‐22

Apple takes the top spot, having created nearly 5% of all shareholder wealth. From the iPod to the iPhone, Apple’s ability to keep innovating has helped it gain a loyal fan base and given the company pricing power. Notably, Apple is America’s most profitable company.

ExxonMobil is the only non-technology company among the five best stocks. When Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999, it was the biggest merger in history and ExxonMobil temporarily became the world’s largest public company by market capitalization. More recently, the company experienced record profits in 2022 due to high oil prices.

The list also shows how wealth-generating patterns have changed over time. While energy and consumer staples are more frequent among older companies in the ranking, the stocks that have created massive wealth in recent years are more likely to be technology or financial companies.

Finding the Next Winners

Given that the names on this list account for 0.1% of all public U.S. stocks, picking out one of the next long-term winners could be a difficult task. In fact, 95% of actively-managed large cap funds—which aim to beat the market through stock picking—underperformed their benchmark over a 20-year period.

Investing in index funds is one possible way to get exposure to top performers. For instance, Apple has been part of the S&P 500 since 1982, about a year after it went public.

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Markets

Mapped: Inflation Projections by Country, in 2024

Global inflation projections look optimistic in 2024, but risks of a second wave of price pressures remain due to geopolitical shocks.

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This map shows inflation projections around the world in 2024.

Inflation Projections, by Country in 2024

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Global economic prospects hang on a delicate balance, largely hinging on the path of inflation.

While inflation looks to be easing, there remains the risk of a second wave of price pressures driven by geopolitical conflicts and supply disruptions in the Red Sea. Adding to this, a stronger than expected labor market could drive consumer demand, pushing up higher prices.

This graphic shows 2024 inflation projections around the world, based on forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 

 

Is Global Inflation On a Downward Path?

In 2024, global inflation is projected to decline to 5.8%, down from a 6.8% estimated annual average in 2023.

Tighter monetary policy and falling energy prices are forecast to dampen price pressures alongside a cooling labor market. Below, we show inflation projections across 190 countries:

CountryProjected Annual Inflation Change 2024
🇻🇪 Venezuela230.0%
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe190.2%
🇸🇩 Sudan127.3%
🇦🇷 Argentina69.5%
🇹🇷 Türkiye54.3%
🇪🇬 Egypt25.9%
🇦🇴 Angola25.6%
🇮🇷 Iran25.0%
🇧🇮 Burundi22.4%
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone21.7%
🇸🇷 Suriname20.0%
🇪🇹 Ethiopia18.5%
🇵🇰 Pakistan17.5%
🇳🇬 Nigeria15.4%
🇲🇼 Malawi15.2%
🇬🇭 Ghana15.0%
🇾🇪 Yemen15.0%
🇲🇳 Mongolia12.8%
🇭🇹 Haiti12.7%
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan10.7%
🇹🇳 Tunisia10.6%
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan10.0%
🇺🇦 Ukraine10.0%
🇲🇬 Madagascar8.6%
🇰🇬 Kyrgyz Republic8.0%
🇿🇲 Zambia7.9%
🇲🇺 Mauritius7.8%
🇬🇳 Guinea7.8%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan7.5%
🇧🇩 Bangladesh7.2%
🇲🇲 Myanmar7.2%
🇸🇹 São Tomé and Príncipe7.2%
🇬🇲 The Gambia7.1%
🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo7.1%
🇩🇿 Algeria6.8%
🇹🇯 Tajikistan6.5%
🇳🇵 Nepal6.5%
🇰🇪 Kenya6.5%
🇲🇿 Mozambique6.5%
🇹🇴 Tonga6.2%
🇸🇸 South Sudan6.1%
🇱🇷 Liberia6.0%
🇺🇾 Uruguay5.7%
🇻🇺 Vanuatu5.6%
🇵🇱 Poland5.5%
🇬🇾 Guyana5.5%
🇷🇼 Rwanda5.5%
🇭🇺 Hungary5.4%
🇳🇦 Namibia5.3%
🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea5.2%
🇧🇹 Bhutan5.1%
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan5.0%
🇯🇲 Jamaica5.0%
🇱🇸 Lesotho5.0%
🇲🇩 Moldova5.0%
🇷🇺 Russia5.0%
🇺🇬 Uganda5.0%
🇳🇮 Nicaragua4.8%
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea4.7%
🇷🇴 Romania4.7%
🇬🇹 Guatemala4.6%
🇼🇸 Samoa4.5%
🇿🇦 South Africa4.5%
🇸🇰 Slovak Republic4.5%
🇨🇴 Colombia4.5%
🇮🇳 India4.4%
🇧🇼 Botswana4.4%
🇸🇿 Eswatini4.3%
🇱🇻 Latvia4.3%
🇭🇳 Honduras4.2%
🇳🇷 Nauru4.2%
🇧🇪 Belgium4.0%
🇮🇸 Iceland4.0%
🇹🇿 Tanzania4.0%
🇰🇮 Kiribati4.0%
🇲🇷 Mauritania4.0%
🇵🇾 Paraguay4.0%
🇷🇸 Serbia4.0%
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic4.0%
🇦🇲 Armenia4.0%
🇧🇷 Brazil3.9%
🇸🇴 Somalia3.9%
🇹🇻 Tuvalu3.8%
🇧🇴 Bolivia3.8%
🇧🇾 Belarus3.7%
🇨🇲 Cameroon3.7%
🇽🇰 Kosovo3.7%
🇪🇪 Estonia3.6%
🇧🇧 Barbados3.6%
🇸🇧 Solomon Islands3.6%
🇦🇱 Albania3.6%
🇦🇺 Australia3.4%
🇪🇸 Spain3.4%
🇵🇭 Philippines3.4%
🇻🇳 Vietnam3.4%
🇲🇦 Morocco3.3%
🇸🇮 Slovenia3.3%
🇦🇹 Austria3.2%
🇭🇷 Croatia3.2%
🇨🇬 Republic of Congo3.2%
🇳🇴 Norway3.2%
🇸🇬 Singapore3.2%
🇲🇽 Mexico3.2%
🇹🇩 Chad3.1%
🇲🇪 Montenegro3.1%
🇱🇹 Lithuania3.1%
🇨🇷 Costa Rica3.0%
🇰🇭 Cambodia3.0%
🇮🇹 Italy3.0%
🇨🇱 Chile3.0%
🇬🇪 Georgia3.0%
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau3.0%
🇮🇶 Iraq3.0%
🇱🇦 Lao P.D.R.3.0%
🇫🇲 Micronesia3.0%
🇩🇲 Dominica2.9%
🇸🇪 Sweden2.8%
🇩🇪 Germany2.8%
🇬🇷 Greece2.7%
🇲🇾 Malaysia2.7%
🇮🇪 Ireland2.6%
🇯🇵 Japan2.6%
🇫🇯 Fiji2.6%
🇲🇭 Marshall Islands2.6%
🇬🇩 Grenada2.6%
🇺🇸 United States2.6%
🇵🇹 Portugal2.6%
🇮🇱 Israel2.6%
🇧🇸 The Bahamas2.6%
🇯🇴 Jordan2.6%
🇱🇾 Libya2.5%
🇳🇿 New Zealand2.5%
🇧🇯 Benin2.5%
🇩🇰 Denmark2.5%
🇩🇯 Djibouti2.5%
🇸🇲 San Marino2.5%
🇹🇱 Timor-Leste2.5%
🇮🇩 Indonesia2.5%
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda2.5%
🇳🇪 Niger2.5%
🇨🇫 Central African Republic2.5%
🇵🇸 West Bank and Gaza2.5%
🇲🇻 Maldives2.4%
🇲🇹 Malta2.4%
🇳🇱 Netherlands2.4%
🇸🇨 Seychelles2.4%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom2.4%
🇬🇦 Gabon2.4%
🇰🇳 St. Kitts and Nevis2.3%
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR2.3%
🇲🇰 North Macedonia2.3%
🇦🇪 UAE2.3%
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago2.3%
🇶🇦 Qatar2.3%
🇵🇦 Panama2.2%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia2.2%
🇵🇪 Peru2.2%
🇨🇾 Cyprus2.2%
🇨🇿 Czech Republic2.2%
🇹🇬 Togo2.2%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria2.2%
🇦🇼 Aruba2.2%
🇨🇦 Canada2.1%
🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina2.1%
🇱🇨 St. Lucia2.1%
🇦🇩 Andorra2.0%
🇧🇫 Burkina Faso2.0%
🇨🇻 Cabo Verde2.0%
🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire2.0%
🇰🇷 Korea2.0%
🇲🇱 Mali2.0%
🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines2.0%
🇨🇭 Switzerland1.9%
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico1.9%
🇨🇳 China1.9%
🇫🇮 Finland1.9%
🇫🇷 France1.9%
🇹🇼 Taiwan1.8%
🇵🇼 Palau1.8%
🇹🇭 Thailand1.8%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg1.7%
🇸🇻 El Salvador1.7%
🇲🇴 Macao SAR1.7%
🇴🇲 Oman1.7%
🇰🇲 Comoros1.6%
🇧🇳 Brunei Darussalam1.5%
🇪🇨 Ecuador1.5%
🇧🇭 Bahrain1.4%
🇧🇿 Belize1.2%
🇸🇳 Senegal0.3%

Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves globally, is projected to see inflation reach 230%—the highest overall.

Across the last decade, the country has faced hyperinflation, reaching a stunning 10 million percent in 2019. Since U.S. sanctions were lifted last year, inflation has fallen dramatically due to sharp cuts in government spending and increasing dollarization of the economy, which is bolstering the bolivar.

In America, slower economic growth coupled with a softening labor market could ease inflation, which is forecast to reach 2.6% in 2024. While the Federal Reserve has signaled that the worst is over, unexpected momentum across the economy could cloud the outcome. As of November 2023, $290 billion in excess savings were held across American households, which may continue to spur consumer demand.

Over in Europe, inflation is anticipated to average 3.3% across advanced economies. Today, sinking natural gas prices and low GDP growth are keeping inflation expectations at bay.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is contending with falling prices due to property market trouble, which drives about a third of the country’s economic growth. Amid sluggish economic activity, a manufacturing slowdown, and low consumer confidence, inflation is forecast to reach 1.7%.

What Could Cause Inflation to Re-Accelerate?

While inflation shocks driven from the pandemic appear to be over, key risks could drive up inflation:

  • Geopolitical Pressures: Rising shipping costs due to the conflict in the Middle East and Red Sea could continue to escalate and energy prices could increase amid disrupted supply, driving inflation higher.
  • Strong Consumer Demand: Accumulated excess savings could continue to fuel economies, leading central banks to remain hawkish. Persistently high wage growth—which increased about double the pre-pandemic average across advanced nations in 2023—could boost consumption and higher prices.
  • Rising Housing Costs: Shelter makes up about a third of the Consumer Price Index, the biggest component overall. If prices accelerate, it presents key inflationary risks. As of January 2024, U.S. shelter costs increased 6% annually.

So far, the global economy has been resilient. While risk factors remain, inflation projections suggest that the path towards a 2% target is slow, but going in the right direction.

 

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