The last ten years has brought some wild swings in the financial markets. There were blue chip stalwarts that became penny stocks, and bellwether companies
that went bankrupt. But along the way, a few stocks were on a jet-propelled ride higher. Were these stocks wildly-speculative tech companies or gold mining
stocks? Nope. Little-known penny stocks? No. They were just solid, well-managed businesses that earned market share the old-fashioned way and rewarded
Here they are — the five best-performing stocks of the decade (performance is through November 15).
#5: Clean Harbors (CLH) +4,456%
Coming in at the #5 spot is Clean Harbors (CLH), the largest hazardous waste disposal company
in North America. The company provides hazardous and non-hazardous waste management, transportation and disposal services to utilities, pharmaceutical
companies, chemical companies, transportation companies as well as industrial and educational institutions and government agencies.
On the final day of trading in 1999, shares of Clean Harbors closed at $1.25. Since then, the stock has had an explosive upward move. The stock even
broke $80 a share last year, though it’s pulled back since.
Unfortunately, Clean Harbors is not currently at a price where you want to buy it. The stock is currently going for over 33 times earnings, which is
just too rich for my blood. If you own Clean Harbors, take your profits off the table now.
#4: Southwestern Energy (SWN) +5,108%
The fourth-best-performing is Texas-based Southwestern Energy (SWN). You just knew an oil
stock was going to make this list. The company is an independent oil and gas outfit that’s profited handsomely from the rise in energy prices.
The first sign at how successful this stock has been is the fact that since the start of the decade, SWN has split 2-for-1, three times, meaning that
you’d now have eight shares for each share you owned at the beginning of the decade.
I like Southwestern Energy a lot and have recommended it many times over the years. However, I’ve become concerned about its earnings recently.
For the last two quarters, the company has met expectations, but failed to beat them. Most money managers would be fine with that, but I like to see stocks
consistently beat expectations. As a result, I now rate Southwestern Energy a dolled as it is yet to be determined if this stock will again make the top
performers list in the coming decade.
#3: Bally Technologies (BYI) +6,394%
As a Nevadan, I’m hardly surprised to see a Las Vegas-based gaming company among the top performers for the decade. Bally Technologies (BYI)
is a major player in the lucrative slot machines business. The company used several strategic acquisitions to build a major presence in the market.
The stock has had a highly volatile decade, featuring several explosive rallies followed by heart-racing crashes. After 9/11, shares of BYI, along with
just about any other company related to travel, took a big plunge. Then in 2004, shares of BYI crashed over 70%. The stock again lost half its value in
2008. But, despite all the turbulence, BYI has ended up having a stellar decade. I currently rate Bally a buy, but due to the volatility, it’s not
for the faint-hearted.
#2: Hansen Natural (HANS) +6,504%
Hansen Natural (HANS) is best-known for its Monster Energy drinks. You’ve probably seen
the claw-marked cans with the catch phrase “Unleash the Beast.” The drinks are especially popular with video gamers. The company owes its
remarkable success to two South African businessmen, Rodney Sacks and Hilton Schlosberg, who transformed the company into an energy drink powerhouse.
Hansen has been one of my favorite stocks to own over the past decade. Between 2004 and 2007, my subscribers made over 1,100% in Hansen. An investment
of $50,000 would have grown into over $600,000. Fortunately, we got out at a good time. After we sold Hansen, the stock dropped over 50%.
Like Bally, Hansen is a volatile stock. I currently recommend Hansen as a buy, if you can stomach the volatility.
#1: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) +7,895%
The winner for the decade is Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR). An investment of just $13,000
ten years ago would now be worth over $1 million—and it’s all thanks to coffee. Green Mountain offers about 180 varieties of coffee, cocoa
and tea. The company sells its drinks to wholesale customers, like supermarkets and food service companies, as well as in ExxonMobil convenience stores
and McDonald’s restaurants.
Green Mountain coffee is sold under the Newman’s Own Organics brand and the Tully’s label, but the biggest moneymaker for this firm is its
Keurig single-cup brewing systems for office and home use. As the recession puts the squeeze on caffeine junkies, it’s much cheaper to make your
own cup of java–which means booming sales for Green Mountain.
This past April, I told investors to buy
shares of Green Mountain before its earnings report. The company delivered a huge earnings surprise, and the stock soared 37% the next day.
I recommended selling the stock after the big move. We made 80% in a little over two months. The good news is that the stock is back on my buy list.
Green Mountain’s earnings report earlier this month topped Wall Street’s estimates, plus the company raised its EPS estimate for all of next
year to $1.75 to $1.85 from its earlier range of $1.70 to $1.80. Green Mountain Coffee continues to be a very strong buy.