The Top 6 Best-Performing Stocks of the Past 20 Years

UTC by Osaemezu Ogwu · 8 min read
The Top 6 Best-Performing Stocks of the Past 20 Years
Photo: Depositphotos

We’ve rounded up the top 6 best-performing stocks of the past 20 years to give you an insight into the market’s performance and help you make an informed decision when choosing the right company to invest in.

The reason is, you may not expect the names that have made it to this list and that goes to show that popularity alone does not impact the price of a stock. These best-performing stocks have surged exponentially even more than the S&P 500 that spiked by about 255% in the past 20 years.

Monster Beverage Corporation

Stock performance for the past 20 years: 98,664%

At one time or the other, you may have had energy drinks like BURN, Full Throttle, Relentless, or Monster Energy. If that’s the case, then you have Monster Beverage (NASDAQ: MNST) to thank for that. You may not have known this company a couple of years ago given that it started with fruit juices before including iced tea and soft drinks to its products. Its non-energy drinks were later sold to The Coca-Cola Company in around 2015.

Monster Beverage was launched in 1935. At the time, it was called Hansen’s Juices, before being renamed to Hansen Natural Corporation in 1988. Later in 2012, the company made a major change to its name switching to Monster Beverage.

Monster Energy drink, a brand in the company, was launched in 2002, and it was promoted as the world’s meanest energy drink. Monster is not recommended for kids, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and people allergic to caffeinated drinks.

Interestingly, the energy drink company’s sales spiked between 2002 and 2012. As of 2002, the value stood at $92 million and ten years later it was sitting at over $2 billion. The significant leap in sales could be tied to the Monster Energy drink given that it brought in 90% of sales recorded.

In line with that, the impressive performance corresponded with the time the company had rebranded. And out of the $31.9 billion valuations of the US energy drink market in 2012, Monster held almost 35%.

Monster Beverage also revealed in its 2004 letter to stakeholders that there was an increase in sales for 12 years in a row since 1992. In 2006, its gross and net sales were over $500 million for the first time.

The company’s net sales also surged from $3.4 billion in 2017 to $3.8 billion in 2018. Hence, it had made an increase in sales for the 26th year in a row. And in 2019, the net sales spiked to $4.2 billion, which was, therefore, a sales increase for the 27th consecutive time.

The company’s total liabilities and stockholders’ equity for 2019 is $ 5.1 billion. In contrast, the equity for 2016, 2017 and 2018 was $4.3 billion, $4.7 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively.

Tractor Supply Co.

Stock performance for the past 20 years: +67,966%

Retail store company, Tractor Supply Co. (NASDAQ: TSCO) which business is primarily targeted at residential farmers has also had a good run in the past two decades.

Residential farms have acquired terms like hobby farms to denote their purpose. There has also been a steady growth in the number of these farms. The reason is, between 2008 and 2013’s end, there was twice the number of farms on the outskirts of the city.

Much more, residential farmers accounted for the largest proportion of all farm owners (38%), according to a recent census conducted by the U.S. Department of agriculture. Therefore, Tractor Supply Co’s success can be tied to its focus on this large market. And its growth has occurred in the face of a downtrend in sales for other companies.

Tractor Supply has products in five categories. There’s the livestock category which accounted for 47% of the company’s revenue in 2019. This category was closely followed by tools, hardware, etc product segment. The latter yielded 21% of the sales. 20% and 8% of the revenue from 2019 could be tied to seasonal and clothing products respectively.

The company’s total liabilities and stockholders’ equity for December 2017 and December 2018 was $2.8 billion and $3 billion respectively. Whereas the total liabilities and stockholders’ equity for December 2019 was $5.2 billion. By the first quarter of 2020, the total liabilities and stockholders’ had surged to $6 billion.

Old Dominion Freight Line

Stock performance for the past 20 years: +18,949%

Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ: ODFL) has also made it to the list for the outstanding performance of its stock for the past few years. This trucking company works with small shipments that are categorized as Less Than Truckload (LTL).

Unlike other companies on the list whose stocks surged as a result of a major change in name or current trend, the same cannot be said about this company. Its success can be tied to the manner it runs its company, which has led to immense gains over the years.

Asides from the growth in its stock price, areas such as its income, sales, net income, etc have also recorded impressive performance. There’s its operation ratio, for instance, which has moved from about 90% to less than 80% between 2006 and 2018. This ratio denotes a company’s efficiency.

What’s more, Old Dominion Freight Lines’s yearly growth rate for the past two decades is around 12.7%. And the share of its LTL market has moved from 2.9% to 10% between 10% to 2018. There has also been an increase in the company’s on-time deliveries given that there was a 99% surge in 2018 compared to the 94% recorded in 2002.

Old Dominion Freight Lines’s total liabilities & equity for Q4 of 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, was $2.6 billion, $3.5 billion, $3 billion, and $3.9 billion respectively. Its total liabilities & equity for Q1 of 2020 was $3.93 billion.

Activision Blizzard

Stock performance for the past 20 years: +16,643%

Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) is focused on the video game industry. The American company was launched in 2008, as a result of a merger between Activision, Inc. and Vivendi Games. There’s a broad classification of the units in this company and they are not limited to Activision Publishing, Major League Gaming, and Blizzard Entertainment.

Activision Blizzard is a popular name in the gaming industry especially in the U.S. and Europe. In 2018, the company was rated as the largest gaming company based on its market cap and revenue. It was also the world’s largest video game publisher. Fortune ranked the company as one of the best to work for as of 2017.

It may be worth noting that Activision Blizzard sprang up from Mediagenic, a company that was wallowing in debt in 1991. But by 1997, the company had become profitable once again and had several units launched. Specifically, this company’s success can be tied to its games such as Call of Duty.

The game’s Modern Warfare 3 had $400 million in gross profit for the U.S. & UK, and the earnings were made just 24 hours after its launch. The same remarkable performance was evident in the launch of the game’s Black Ops version. The latter yielded an income of $360 million in a single day. Coupled with that Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops III, different series of Call of Duty grossed $310 million and $550 million, respectively, in a single day.

Activision Blizzard’s total liabilities & equity for Q4 of 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, was $14.6 million, $15.2 million, $17.4 million, $18.7 million, $17.8 million and 19.8 million respectively. Its total liabilities & equity for Q1 of 2020 was $3.9 billion.

Tyler Technologies

Stock performance for the past 20 years: +10,591%

Tyler Technologies (NYSE: TYL) made it to S&P 500 in June 2020. As such, it was recently listed unlike other companies on our list. The company’s listing on S&P 500 also came after Motorola Solutions’ listing. Hence, these are the only two companies on the GovTech 100 list that have made it to the S&P 500.

For four years in a row, the Washington Post ranked Tyler as one of the top companies to work in. The company was founded in 1966 and from 1988, it began its acquisition of other companies. Some of these companies include Eagle Computer Systems, Advanced-Data System, Wiznet, Inc, and Akanda Innovation, Inc.

The company recorded a revenue of $1 billion for the first time in 2019. Its software is tailored to education, permitting and land use, enterprise resource planning, and so much more. In July 2019, the company also signed an $85 million to create a software for North Carolina’s judicial system.

Tyler Technologies’ total liabilities & equity for Q4 of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, was $858 milion, $934 million, $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion, and $1.6 billion respectively.

Apple Inc.

Stock performance for the past 20 years: +10 467%

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is one of the world’s largest tech companies and the third-largest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung and Huawei. In 2018, the company was valued at about $1 trillion, which made Apple the first publicly traded company in the U.S to reach this valuation.

Apple recorded annual revenue of $265 billion in 2018. And in the second quarter of 2020, it announced its revenue is between $63.0 billion and $67.0 billion. According to the company, the revenue is its highest-ever for a single quarter. Further, the spike in revenue was tied to the high demand for the iPhone 11 smartphones.

Apple’s total liabilities & equity for Q4 of 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 was $321,686 million, $375,319 million, $365,725 million, and $338,516 million respectively. The company’s total liabilities & equity for Q1 and Q2 of 2020 was $340.6 million and $320.4 million.


These are the top 6 best-performing stocks of the past 20 years, and they’re all from reputable companies. These stocks have surged as a result of the companies’ success in their respective industry. And their success can be tied to a current trend or the launch of a unique product that meets users’ needs.