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One of the most difficult things for a long-term investor to do is ignore the day-to-day or week-to-week noise in the market and focus on maximizing long-term gains. In reality, young Americans investing for retirement shouldn’t even care what a stock will do in a year’s time and should instead focus on how it will perform decades into the future.
“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years,” value investor Warren Buffett once said. A lot can change in 10 years, but the most profitable long-term investors can identify companies that will be able to consistently grow and deliver strong returns year after year throughout different market cycles.
Netflix Inc. NFLX 4.17% has certainly been one of those stocks in the past 15 years. Netflix recently celebrated the 15-year anniversary of its IPO back in May 2002. In that 15-year period, Netflix has generated an incredible 14,500 percent gain for investors. Shockingly, despite Netflix’s massive success and mind-blowing market performance, it is not the top-performing S&P 500 stock of the past 15 years.
Cream Of The Crop
The list below includes the nine stocks atop Bespoke’s list of the best-performing S&P 500 components of the past 15 years:
- Monster Beverage Corporation MNST 1.18%: +54,831 percent.
- Netflix: +14,574 percent.
- Apple Inc AAPL 2.39%: +8,764 percent.
- Priceline Group Inc PCLN 1.58%: +7,654 percent.
- Illumina, Inc. ILMN 1.51%: +5,625 percent.
- Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN 1.37%: +5,076 percent.
- Intuitive Surgical, Inc. ISRG 1.42%: +4,850 percent.
- Celgene Corporation CELG 0.98%: +4,817 percent.
- American Tower Corp AMT 0.84%: +3,287 percent.
Investors who saw the long-term potential of these nine stocks back in 2002 have been handsomely rewarded in the past 15 years. Traders looking for the top performers of the next 15 years can take a look back to 2002 and consider what each of these companies looked like prior to their epic 15-year runs.