Best Performing Stocks by Year Since 2000
The stock market is known for surprises. It’s impossible to predict with accuracy which stocks will take off and which will tank; you must be prepared for some level of volatility. Historically, the market records more gains than losses, but when things go wrong as they did in 2008 (the S&P 500 Index dropped 37 percent), it can take years to regain losses. Many factors influence whether a stock’s value will go up or down such as a change in product demand, a new breakthrough or a company acquisition.
While some of the top stocks of the 21st century are household names and are part of the S&P 500, others are much smaller or no longer exist (some were assimilated into other companies). The fields of medicine and technology dominate the list, as you might suspect. Another company you may use frequently made the list twice.
Here are the top stocks of the century by year, by percentage gain.
2000: OSI Pharmaceuticals
Former symbol: OSIP (Nasdaq). Now it's part of the Japanese company Astellas Pharma, which trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
End of 2000 price per share: $80.13
Price of Astellas Pharma on March 1, 2019: $15.60 (note, not comparable)
Current market cap: $30.5 billion
An American pharmaceutical company headquartered in Long Island, New York, OSI focused on oncology medications. In 2000, the company gained rights from Pfizer for an anticancer compound that showed promise for treating multiple types of cancer.
2001: Acclaim Entertainment
Former symbol: AKLM (Nasdaq).
End of 2001 price per share: $5.38
An American video game developer and publisher in Glen Cove, New York, Acclaim rebounded in 2001 thanks to the introduction of new products across various game systems.
Sadly, Acclaim went bankrupt in 2004.
2002: Firstwave Technologies
Former symbol: FSTW (Nasdaq)
End of 2002 price per share: $12.16
An Atlanta-based developer of customer relationship management software, Firstwave reported a profit in the first quarter of 2002, causing the stock to double in one day.
We're unable to find recent news of the company. Rumors in 2007 suggested it was considering going private.
Symbol: AVYA (NYSE)
End of 2003 price per share: $13
Price on March 1, 2019: $15.67 (after second public offering)
Current market cap: $1.62 billion
A multinational technology company, Avaya specializes in communications systems and software development. A spin off from Lucent (which spun off of AT&T), the company is based in Santa Clara, California. The company was acquired by private equity firms in 2007, and then went public again in 2017.
Symbol: ADSK (Nasdaq)
End of 2004 price per share: $37.95
Price on March 1, 2019: $159.77
Current market cap: $33.62 billion
An American multinational company based in San Rafael, California, Autodesk designs software for the architecture, engineering, construction, entertainment, manufacturing and media industries.
2005: Hansen Natural
Symbol: MNST (Nasdaq), formerly HANS (Nasdaq). The company changed its name and ticker symbol in 2012.
End of 2005 price per share: $3.28
Price on March 1, 2019: $64.74
Current market cap: $33.53 billion
Located in Corona, California, the “alternative beverage” company responsible for Monster Energy Drink offered a 2-for-1 stock split in July and announced the launch of three new drinks in August. The stock rose almost 250 percent in November alone.
2006: Force Protection
Former symbol: FRPT (Nasdaq), now part of GD (NYSE). General Dynamics acquired the company in 2011.
End of 2006 price per share: $13
Price of GD on March 1, 2019: $169.28 (note, not comparable)
Current market cap of GD: $47.98 billion
A South Carolina company, Force Protection created “blast-protected vehicles” able to withstand the force of roadside bombs for the Marines.
Symbol: MOS (NYSE)
End of 2007 price per share: $94.34
Price on March 1, 2019: $31
Current market cap: $11.27 billion
The Plymouth, Minnesota-based chemical fertilizer company owns and operates mines in North America and has distribution and sales offices in Brazil, Paraguay, India and China. A rise in demand for corn and soybeans to produce ethanol and biodiesel fuel prompted farmers to increase fertilizer purchases, fueling demand.
2008: Dollar Tree
Symbol: DLTR (Nasdaq)
End of 2008 price per share: $41.69
Price on March 1, 2019: $96.36
Current market cap: $28.88 billion
Headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia, the discount retailer was able to weather the recession while many other companies posted losses for the year.
2009: Diedrich Coffee
Former symbol: DDRX (Nasdaq), now part of KDP (NYSE).
End of 2009 price per share: $34.85
Price of KDP on March 1, 2019: $26 (note, not comparable)
Current market cap of KDP: $37.28 billion
An American coffee company based in Irvine, California, Diedrich closed its company-owned stores and sold its franchises to focus on wholesale sales of coffee and producing K-Cups for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Keurig coffee maker. In December, after a bidding war with Peet Coffee, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters came to an agreement to purchase Diedrich for $290 million. Keurig Dr Pepper is now the owner of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.
Symbol: NFLX (Nasdaq)
End of 2010 price per share: $175.70
Price on March 1, 2019: $357.32
Current market cap: $157.01 billion
An American media-services company based in Los Gatos, California, Netflix made its mark on movie rentals with its DVD-by-mail service, besting its top competitor, Blockbuster, which declared bankruptcy. The company looked to the future by pursuing new technologies to stream video online and ended the year with a market value of more than $9 billion.
Former symbol: VRUS (Nasdaq), now part of GILD (Nasdaq)
End of 2011 price per share: $137
Price of GILD on March 1, 2019: $66.01 (note, not comparable)
Current market cap of GILD: $80.26 billion
A Princeton, New Jersey-based biotechnology company, Pharmasset develops antiviral drugs. In 2011 its hepatitis C medication that was expected to eliminate the need for interferon was in the latter stages of its experimental phase. The company offered a 2-for-1 stock split in September. Gilead Sciences purchased Pharmasset in November 2011.
Former symbol: PCYC (Nasdaq), now part of ABBV (NYSE)
End of 2012 price per share: $57.78
Price of ABBV on March 1, 2019: $80.10 (note, not comparable)
Current market cap of ABBV: $115.19 billion
An American biopharmaceutical company based in Sunnyvale, California, Pharmacyclics focuses on treating cancer and other diseases. Its experimental lymphocytic leukemia treatment showed promise in 2012 and drove up the price of its shares. AbbVie purchased Pharmacyclics in 2015.
Symbol: TSLA (Nasdaq)
End of 2013 price per share: $37.51
Price on March 1, 2019: $294.79
Current market cap: $47.71 billion
The Palo Alto, California-based electric car manufacturer was forced to ramp up production to meet unexpected demand, adding an additional 500 cars in the first half of the year. The company also reported reduced costs, resulting in gross margins increasing from 8 to 17 percent. With no new stock offering, the stock was in high demand.
2014: Avanir Pharmaceuticals
Former symbol: AVNR (Nasdaq). Now the company's part of Otsuka Pharmaceutical, traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
End of 2014 price per share: $16.95
Price of Otsuka Pharmaceutical on March 1, 2019: $142.36 (note, not comparable)
Current market cap of Otsuka Pharmaceutical: $23.7 billion
A biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Aliso Viejo, CA, Avanir’s focus is on medicines that treat central nervous systems disorders. In December, the company announced it would be acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. for $3.5 billion and will operate as an independent subsidiary.
Symbol: NFLX (Nasdaq)
End of 2015 price per share: $114.38
Price on March 1, 2019: $357.32
Current market cap: $157.01 billion
Netflix continued its success largely due to its original programming, low prices compared to cable services and the increasing trend for consumers to “cut the cord” in favor of streaming services.
2016: Resolute Energy
Symbol: REN (NYSE)
End of 2016 price per share: $41.19
Price on Feb. 28, 2019: $30.91
Current market cap: $721.11 million
An oil and gas company based in Denver, Colorado, Resolute’s primary production areas are the Aneth Field in the Paradox Basin of Utah and the Permian Basin of West Texas. While stock prices dropped during the first half of the year, the second quarter earnings report caused the stock to rapidly rise in value. The company announced the acquisition of additional property in October and a secondary stock offering to fund more purchases.
Symbol: NRG (NYSE)
End of 2017 price per share: $28.40
Price on March 1, 2019: $42.20
Current market cap: $11.63 billion
The energy company, based in Houston and West Windsor, New Jersey, boosted its value when it announced plans to sell both conventional and renewable assets as part of a restructuring move to become more efficient. Formerly an arm of Xcel Energy, it spun off on its own in 2004.
Symbol: TWLO (NYSE)
End of 2018 price per share: $89.30
Price on March 1, 2019: $123.53
Current market cap: $14.17 billion
Twilio’s a cloud communications service based in San Francisco. The company’s third quarter had a 68 percent increase in sales over the prior year due to new users and increased spending by existing users, with a large untapped market still available.