Last Updated: January 11, 2023
It has been an amazing decade for Wall Street bulls!
Let’s have a look at the best performing stocks in the last 10 years. The data is eye-opening:
This Infographic Shows the Best Performing Stocks in the Last 10 Years
We here, at SpendMeNot.com, summed up the results in this infographic:
The stock market has reached historic highs, with the S&P 500 jumping more than 168% since 2009.
And that’s just the average return. Some stocks have witnessed a much bigger rise. Amazon, the company that made Jeff Bezos the richest man on Earth, has increased its market value more than 20 times!
How would you like to have invested there?
To show you how much of a crazy ride it’s been, I decided to compile a list of the 10 best performing stocks in the last 10 years. I picked only blue chip stocks and calculated how much you would have today if you had bought $1000 of a particular stock in 2009.
I need to add a disclaimer here.
Just because a stock has seen its value skyrocket doesn’t mean it’s a good pick for future investment. Some of these stocks have a very high P/E ratio, making them ridiculously expensive.
In no way should this list be your sole tool for making investment decisions. Instead, use it to revise some of the best bullish stocks of the last decade.
This article is based on September 2019 stock prices. You should keep in mind that stock prices change every day.
And on that note, let’s dive right in.
A Look at the Best Performing Stocks in the Last 10 Years
- You would have $49,243 if you had invested $1000 in Netflix stock in 2009.
- Netflix has a market capitalization of $119 billion.
- The company supposedly invested $200 million in The Irishman.
Netflix started as a DVD renting service in 1997. It would send you the film(s) of your choice by mail (yes, THAT kind of mail). Once you’d watched it, you were supposed to return the disc the same way.
While this model sounds terribly antiquated in 2019, it turned out to be very successful at the time. But Netflix’s true rise to power began with the introduction of a paid membership model with streaming content. It turned Netflix into one of the biggest streaming platforms on Earth and one of today’s top gaining stocks.
Then came content creation. Netflix started producing its own shows and films, with some of the projects worth tens of millions of dollars. For example, crime drama The Irishman is said to cost Netflix around $200 million. Crazy, right?
Nevertheless, this business model seems to pay out, and investors are well aware of that. The company’s market capitalization has increased multiple times since 2009. If you had invested $1000 dollars in Netflix stock 10 years ago, today you would walk away with more than $49,000.
It’s a great stock growth rate, and it’s more than enough to get you a life-long Netflix subscription!
- It pays off $22,261 to have bought $1000 worth of Amazon stock in 2009.
- Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest person thanks to Amazon.
- In 2018, Amazon’s revenue jumped 31% to $233 billion.
Jeff Bezos can partly thank book lovers for his $131 billion fortune.
Right now, Amazon shares are some of the most profitable stocks on the market. But when Bezos founded amazon.com in 1995, the site only sold books. Book sales fueled Amazon’s growth, and the site soon started selling other items, gradually becoming one of the biggest retailers in the world.
Today, Amazon sells anything from food to gadgets to a Nicholas Cage Mermaid Pillow. What’s more, it operates its own chain of physical stores. Heck, it even bought a supermarket chain (Whole Foods) in 2017!
But it’s not just about retail anymore. Amazon has set its foot in the cloud computing market with Amazon Web Services. Its diversified portfolio has helped company shares to become one of the most profitable stocks in recent years.
In 2018 alone, Amazon’s revenue increased by 31% to a jaw-dropping $233 billion. Numbers keep getting bigger, and investors love it. They want a piece of the action and keep buying Amazon stock, pushing prices higher and higher.
So the fact that $1000 of Amazon 2009 stock is worth $22,261 today shouldn’t come as a surprise.
- A $1000 investment in Apple stock in 2009 would generate $8,469 today.
- Apple is the first US public company to reach a market cap of $1 trillion.
- It reshaped the cell phone market with the iPhone.
Steve Jobs’ salesman genius lives on in the company he co-founded in 1976. This technological giant relies on great marketing as much as on quality products.
Apple has introduced a couple of game changers throughout the years.
Case in point:
In 2007, it came up with the iPhone – the first commercially successful smartphone with a touchscreen.
iPhone sales exploded, turning Apple into one of the most expensive companies in the world and essentially reshaping the cell phone industry. Which in turn helped Apple shares end up among the stocks with highest returns.
But the iPhone is just one of Apple’s many flagship products. In fact, the company is a leader in the niche of desktop computers and tablets. It has a music service, a payments platform, a cloud storage service. Apple even sells solar power!
With an annual turnover of $265 billion, Apple is an unstoppable force. In 2018, it became the first US public company to reach a market cap of $1 trillion.
Talking about large scale!
4. UnitedHealth Group
- You can get $8144 for a $1000 investment in 2009 company stocks.
- UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of over $200 billion.
- Its Optum division generates more then $100 billion annually.
What started in 1974 as a small healthcare company is today the biggest supplier of healthcare products and services.
As of 2018, UnitedHealth Group generates an annual turnover of $226 billion. Its Optum division alone is responsible for at least $100 billion of the company’s revenue.
And that’s not all:
Optum is a major data supplier to the pharmacy and healthcare industries. UnitedHealth Group also has a pivotal role in the healthcare insurance market. It provides health and well-being services for people over 50, as well as poor and disadvantaged people.
Healthcare company shares are among the most successful stocks on the market. That’s because healthcare spending is considered immune to financial crises, and sudden price drops are less expected.
UnitedHealth Group’s market cap is over $200 billion, and the company has been delivering steady financial results. In fiscal 2018, revenues increased by more than 12%, and operating profit jumped to over $17 billion.
For the last 10 years, UnitedHealth Group’s stock price has increased by more than 800%, making it one of the well-performing stocks on the market.
- A $1000 investment in Boeing stock in 2009 is worth $7,202 today.
- The company had a groundbreaking 2018, with record revenue of over $101 billion.
- Its market cap is over $200 billion.
Why would a successful timber salesman like William Boeing want to create an airplane company?
Well, it was 1916, and he was amazed by flying aircraft.
But what’s more important:
His decision turned out to be a gold mine.
Boeing is one of the largest aerospace manufacturers on Earth. It makes planes, satellites, rockets, missiles, and equipment. Whenever a government, an airline, or a carrier wants to renew its fleet, Boeing is one of the companies it talks to.
It has ruled the stock market over the last 10 years.
Today’s aerospace giant is the result of multiple mergers and acquisitions. Throughout the years, the company has managed to survive crises and turmoil.
In 2018, Boeing recorded an 8% rise in revenue up to an all-time high of $101 billion. 2019 is expected to have brought revenue of at least $109.5 billion – a new record. The company retains its positive outlook.
It’s no wonder that investors love Boeing. Its stock price has been rising in the last few years: enough to land the company in the best performing stocks in the last 10 years list.
A $1000 in Boeing stock would have gotten you over $7200 in 2019.
- $1000 in Nike stocks is worth $6252 today.
- The Nike brand is worth $36.8 billion.
- It makes $36 billion in revenue a year.
If you’ve been following the stock market statistics in the past 10 years, you might have noticed Nike’s impressive performance. But things haven’t always been this peachy.
Check this out:
This iconic shoe manufacturer started off from the trunk of Phil Knight’s car. Knight co-founded the company with his coach Bill Bowerman. A master of marketing, Knight managed to transform their tiny business into a multinational giant worth billions.
It pays famous athletes fat checks to make sure everyone associates the brand with sports.
This strategy has paid off, and it puts Nike among the top performing stocks in the last 10 years. And Nike has been tremendously successful in creating an emotional connection with shoppers. They rush into stores because they believe they’re buying the best products from a manufacturer that really cares about sports.
It is this magnificent brand awareness that pumps $36 billion in revenue into Nike’s coffers every year.
Not bad for a couple of guys who started in the 1960s by selling Japanese shoes in a parking lot.
If you, by any chance, had bought Nike stock worth $1000 in 2009, today you could have cashed out around $6252.
However, that’s still not enough to buy you a pair of Nike shoes. The price of some models can go as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars. These guys sure know how to sell.
As for the stock growth rates:
Well, you can see for yourself.
- Buying Microsoft stock for $1000 would return $5642 in 2019.
- In 2018, the company spent $21.5 billion on dividends and buyback programs.
- It has an annual turnover of more than $110 billion.
Microsoft’s Windows has ruled the operating system market for decades. It still holds a monstrous 79% share of the desktop market. If you take in consideration all types of devices, it is the number two OS, lagging only behind Android.
Are you surprised then that Microsoft is among the top gainers on the stock market over the last 10 years?
Let’s recap the company’s story so far:
Microsoft was founded in 1975, but it rose to power in the 1980s with its MS-DOS operating system.
Its flagman product came to life in 1985, and initially had no considerable commercial success. That soon started to change. It wasn’t until 1995 and the release of Windows 95, however, that Microsoft truly became a titan and boosted its stock market value over time.
In the following years, its dominance increased. So did the number of Microsoft employees-turned-millionaires. Their count reached 12,000 in 2005 thanks to stock options received by employees.
And we haven’t even mentioned Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen who are billionaires because of their holdings in Microsoft. Gates is one of the richest people in the world with a fortune of $106 billion. And Microsoft is definitely one of the stocks worth investing in.
While it’s Microsoft’s moneymaker, Windows is just one of the many products the company offers. Product diversification means multiple sources of income.
In 2018, Microsoft’s cloud business delivered more than $23 billion in revenue – more than the company’s forecasts had indicated. This is almost 20% of Microsoft’s total revenue, which amounts to $110.4 billion.
During the same year, Microsoft spent $21.5 billion paying dividends and buying back its stock. After all, you have to make shareholders happy.
Not that they seem gloomy. Buying Microsoft stock might have been one of the most profitable investments they’ve ever made. $1000 of 2009 Microsoft shares has transformed into $5642.
- $1000 in Alphabet stock is valued at $5103 in 2019.
- Alphabet’s market cap is over $800 billion.
- In 2018, the company had revenues of $137 billion.
Have you heard the story about how Google offered itself to Yahoo! for $1 million, but the latter declined the offer as too expensive? It happened back in 1998 and could have been the greatest deal in Yahoo!’s history.
That’s because Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is now valued at more than $800 billion. It’s undoubtedly one of the best-performing stocks in the last 10 years.
Google’s algorithm PageRank is to blame for this magnificent success. Unlike other search engines in the 1990s, Google’s PageRank spits out web search results based on links and popularity. What this means for the end users is a much faster way to find the content that’s most relevant to their queries.
Needless to say, Google’s popularity exploded soon after the search engine went live in 1998.
However, popularity and a great algorithm can do little for commercial success if you don’t have a successful business model. Lucky for Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, they had one.
Google started publishing ads in the results pages.
Users didn’t mind it.
Because they could still find what they are looking for without paying anything. But for Google, money started pouring in.
You can see this in Google’s stock price history. In 2004, the company went public and became an instant success on Wall Street.
How does Alphabet make money?
While it has multiple products (including the world’s most popular operating system, Android, and the world’s most popular browser, Chrome), Alphabet’s main source of income remains advertising. In 2018, the company had a revenue of $137 billion and a net profit of $30.7 billion.
Would you pay $1 million to own an enterprise like this?
I bet you would.
9. Samsung Electronics
- Your $1000 bet on Samsung Electronics would return $4204 today.
- The company generated $203 billion in revenue in 2018.
- It sells 292 million smartphones a year.
Here is another top performer on the stock market over the last 10 years.
It’s hard to believe it now, but when Samsung Electronics was selling mobile phones in the 1990s, it couldn’t compete with the likes of Motorola. For years, it kept a tiny share of its home market as the management was trying to think of a way to push sales upwards.
Fast forward to 2007:
Samsung overtook Motorola as the second biggest mobile phone manufacturer on Earth. Apple had just unveiled the iPhone, and Nokia was… well, it was Nokia.
This marked the beginning of a new era for Samsung Electronics. In the next years, it managed to climb to the top of the global smartphone market. As of 2018, the company was selling 292 million smartphones annually around the globe. This is one of the reasons it is among the best performing stocks in the last 10 years.
Today, Samsung Electronics is responsible for two thirds of its parent company’s revenue Samsung Group. It sells everything from laptops to fridges, and it has solid positions on the world market.
In 2018, Samsung Electronics generated a record $203 billion in revenue.
Investors should be pleased. As a matter of fact, they should be happy with this pick of the stock market over the last 10 years. Right now, their $1000 bet on Samsung Electronics returns $4204.
10. Berkshire Hathaway
- A $1000 worth of the stock has grown to $3159 today.
- Warren Buffett took over Berkshire when it was a textile company on the brink of bankruptcy.
- As of 2018, the company makes over $225 billion in annual revenue.
Here’s a funny thing:
You couldn’t invest $1000 in Berkshire Hathaway stocks even if you wanted to.
That’s because a single share costs much more than that. Some investors place them among the best company stocks.
Well, Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett stated in the 1980s that he doesn’t want to do a stock split, which would boost shares liquidity and lower their price. So he never did.
A lot can be said about the charismatic leader of Berkshire Hathaway. His knowledge of stock markets and intuition have helped him become one of the richest people in the world.
But did you know that Buffett didn’t create Berkshire Hathaway? He actually bought it in the 1960s. Back then, it was a textile company suffering from financial turmoil. It had nothing to do with stocks worth investing in.
Except it did.
Buffett transformed Berkshire by turning the business to financial services and investment. As of 2019, Berkshire’s market cap is over $500 billion. The company has holdings in some of the most profitable stocks ever like Amazon, Apple, and General Motors, to name a few.
In 2018, it made more than $225 billion in revenue and had a net profit of $4 billion.
Buffett’s success in investment has earned him the nickname The Oracle of Omaha. With a moniker like that, it’s not hard to figure out why Berkshire’s stock price has risen in the last 10 years.
A $1000 investment in the shares would be worth $3159.
These are just a few examples of companies that have brought fantastic value to their shareholders in the last decade. Each of them has a unique story and a business model that many try to copy.
But make no mistake. The stock market can be a roller coaster. Past wins don’t guarantee future gains.
What’s most valuable about the best performing stocks in the last 10 years are not their gains but the stories that have brought them where they are.