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The 30 Best-Performing Stocks Since 1980

The list and observations of 30 best-performing stocks since 1980

I’ve been doing some catch-up reading on banks recently and bumped into this fascinating table from a recent presentation by M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB). This table shows the best 30 stocks (as of May 31) out of the entire universe of 567 U.S.-based stocks traded publicly since 1980.

Of course this is not the list of the best 30 companies. For one thing, it doesn’t include any company that went public after 1980 so many of the best-performing stocks since then have been left out including biotech companies such Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) and internet companies such as Priceline (PCLN). But there are so many interesting things about this table.

  1. Fourteen companies have compounded faster than Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B), although a few by just the tiniest bit, including names that I would not have thought of such as Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) and Valspar Corp. (NYSE:VAL), which has just been acquired by another surprising top performer Sherwin-Williams Co. (NYSE:SHW).
  2. I would never have guessed that Eaton Vance Corp. (NYSE:EV) topped the list with a whopping 23.3% CAGR.
  3. Financials, industrials and consumer stocks dominate the list. There are seven financial stocks, 11 consumer stocks and five industrial stocks.
  4. There were only two materials companies (now only one with Sherwin-Williams acquiring Valspar), one information technology company, one energy company and zero utility companies. I’m actually very surprised that there is an energy company on the list. Maybe there’s something special about HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC).
  5. Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio)’s favorite sectors are financials, consumers and industrials.
  6. Of the list 10% are specialty retailers, a segment that has been absolutely crushed recently by the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) effect. Can Gap (GPS), L Brands (LB) and V.F. Corp. (VFC) ride out this Amazon storm and continue their 37-year track record?
  7. The following companies did not surprise me: TJX Companies (TJX); Stryker (SYK); Danaher (DHR); Walmart (WMT); Berkshire Hathaway; M&T Bank; Walgreens (WBA); Astronics (ATRO); and Church & Dwight (CHD).

Now comes the fun part – crowdfunding. If any of the readers are familiar with the names not mentioned in my no-surprise list, please leave a comment as to why you think the company compounded at such an astounding rate. I hope we can all come up with something productive and beneficial to our investment journeys.

About the author:

A global value investor constantly seeking to acquire worldly wisdom. My investment philosophy has been inspired by Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Howard Marks, Chuck Akre, Li Lu, Zhang Lei and Peter Lynch.

Rating: 5.0/5 (10 votes)



Extramiler - 1 year ago    Report SPAM

Nice find. It would be interesting to see a list since 1990, 2000, etc. and then how many cos. appear on multiple lists showing consistency of returns. For example, the Gap is up huge since 1980 (#9 of all stocks), but all the gain was from 1980 to the late '90s ... it has barely moved at all in the past 20 years.

Grahamites premium member - 1 year ago

Extramiler - Great observation on Gap. I'll try to find similar list since 1990 and 2000 etc. It'll be interesting to see how the list changes. Thanks.

Rjstcr - 1 year ago    Report SPAM

Wow. Very interesting!!!

Bertrand premium member - 1 year ago

Very good article.

Not a coincidence to see that theses businesses are on average consistently generating high ROIC

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