Global financial crises. A pandemic. Recession. Countless geopolitical conflicts.
A lot has happened over the last 10 years.
The U.S. stock market has been rattled by a range of events and yet sits within 7% of an all-time high. Along the way, however, many publicly traded companies have gone bankrupt or been delisted. Most have survived.
Then there are a select group of stocks that have risen to the top. Although not immune from macroeconomic challenges, some companies just have that ultra-disruptive product, a game-changing technology or innate quality that sets them apart from the 6,000-plus U.S. listed stocks.
Over the last 10 years, the S&P 500 has advanced 174%. No surprise, the technology sector has been the biggest outperformer with a return roughly twice that of the broader market. Naturally, individual tech stocks are well represented among the biggest 10-year winners.
But which ones have earned the title ‘best of the best’?
It must be Apple. Nope, that’s ‘only’ up 1,002%. Tesla must be at the top. No, its 10-year return is ‘just’ 2,659%. These stocks are no doubt huge winners, but there are a handful of large caps that have taken things to another level.
These three stocks have blown past the herd — and may be market leaders for years to come.
#1 - Celsius Holdings
A decade ago, Celsius Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CELH) was a little-known beverage maker trying to make a splash in an energy drink market long dominated by Red Bull and Monster. Mission accomplished. Celsius is now the nation’s third best-selling energy drink and gaining ground. It is the second best-selling energy drink on Amazon.com, with a sizable lead on Red Bull and nipping at the heels of Monster.
As Celsius brand awareness has grown, so too has its share price — in an amazing way. The stock is up a staggering 23,668% over the last 10 years. A penny stock for most of the period, Celsius has exploded over the last few years and currently trades well over $100 per share. The stock’s 82% annualized return would’ve turned a $2,000 investment 10 years ago into a $1.4 million windfall. Coulda, shoulda, woulda!
While the company has clearly benefited from health & wellness trends born out of the pandemic, it has made the most of the opportunity. Continuously rolling out new products and unique flavors to fitness-minded consumers continues to be a winning formula. Now in nine international markets, overseas expansion has contributed but only scratched the surface. Last, a newly formed distribution partnership with stakeholder Pepsi stands to keep this success story chugging along for the next 10 years.
#2 - NVIDIA
NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) has produced an 11,951% cumulative return over the last 10 years. This makes it by far the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq-100 in that span. Semiconductor industry peer AMD is a distant second in both indices with a 2,932% gain.
A relentless pursuit of tech leadership has propelled the chipmaker to incredible heights. Throughout the years, it has launched groundbreaking innovations for computers, 3D gaming and data centers.
Last year’s unveiling of the NVIDIA Omniverse platform ushered in a technology that is expected to play a major role in the Internet’s next biggest stage, the metaverse. And although the company first introduced artificial intelligence tools in 2012, much of the stock’s recent gains can be attributed to its growth potential in AI data centers and other applications.
In May 2023, NVIDIA became the first semiconductor company to reach a $1 trillion valuation. This put it in an exclusive club of trillion dollar market cap stocks that includes Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon.
#3 - Horizon Therapeutics
Horizon Therapeutics Public Limited Company (NASDAQ: HZNP) is another penny stock turned large cap success story. Shares of the Ireland-based biopharmaceutical company have surged 3,858% since August 2013. The next closest large cap drug manufacturer is Eli Lilly, which is up 734%.
For Horizon, the outperformance stems from the commercialization of novel medicines for rare diseases that previously had limited (if any) treatment options. The company has seven prescription medicines available in the U.S., including thyroid eye disease (TED) therapy Tepezza which accounts for roughly half of the total sales. Krystexxa, a treatment for chronic gout, is its next best-known product. Horizon also boasts a pipeline of 10 drug candidates, several of which are in late-stage clinical trials.
The diversified portfolio and potentially lucrative pipeline convinced Amgen to acquire Horizon for $28 billion in December 2022. Earlier this year, however, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit to halt the takeover — which has likely delayed the potential close to later this year or next year.
So with a pending acquisition on the table, the stock’s days of massive gains appear over. But with Horizon trading 16% below Amgen’s $116.50 per share offer price, there may be a short-term arbitrage opportunity.