In a couple of posts yesterday, we discussed the meteoric rise in Netflix (NFLX) since its IPO (here and here). Today, we wanted to see how NFLX’s performance over the last 15 years compares to the performance of other current S&P 500 members during that same span. With a gain of over 14,500%, NFLX is obviously one of the top performers, but what may surprise you is that a move of that magnitude does not rank at the top of the list. The title for best performing stock over the last 15 years actually belongs to Monster Energy (MNST), which has actually more than tripled the return of NFLX, rallying 54,800%! That’s right, $100 invested in MNST 15 years ago would be worth just under $55,000 today.
As the names in the table below illustrate, the list of winners is heavily populated with stocks from the Technology sector (7 of 25). That doesn’t even include NFLX, or Priceline (PCLN), or Amazon.com (AMZN), which one could argue are just as much Tech stocks than they are Consumer Discretionary. It also illustrates how blurry the line has become between Technology and other sectors in the last several years. True, all three stocks sell items that involve discretionary purchases on the part of the consumer, but without a heavy focus on technology and innovation, none of these companies would be anywhere near where they are today. Also, Illumina (ILMN), which has rallied over 5,000%, is classified as Health Care. No argument there, but for a company that has been at the forefront of sequencing the human genome, that also involves just as much technology as it does medicine.
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To the downside, the list of stocks below contains current S&P 500 members that are down over the last 15 years. Leading the way to the downside, AIG, Citigroup (C), and Transocean (RIG) are down more than 80% over the last 15 years, and when you think about it, the fact that these stocks have been such losers over the last decade and a half and yet still manage to remain in the S&P 500 is a feat in and of itself. Another notable loser is Ford Motor (F), which is down close to 40%. The poor performance of F’s stock price is probably one big reason why the company just announced a change in leadership yesterday. It also may have the current CEO of General Electric (GE) looking over his shoulder a little bit more than usual today. There have already been calls for change at GE as its stock price is down close to 12% over the last 15 years, but F’s move yesterday may only increase the chatter. Finally, another notable name is Advanced Micro (AMD). Even as the stock has been one of the S&P 500’s top performers over the last two years, it is still down over 6% since the NFLX IPO in 2002.