Illustration by Kiersten Essenpreis
By Paul Schrodt
December 27, 2019

Amazon is a darling of the financial press, and deservedly so. It’s emerged from what people once knew as that website that sells books to become the retail centerpiece in many of our lives (which also happens to listen to everything we say and cater to our preferences through the Echo device). A global survey found that nearly half of people will do most or all of their holiday gift shopping this year via Amazon.

The company’s stock has reflected that remarkable ascent in the past decade. It’s seen a massive 1,224% return since the end of the 2009 calendar year. So if you invested $10,000 in Amazon 10 years ago, you’d be sitting on $122,441 now.

That growth bests nearly every other stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500, but not quite all of them. That other digital behemoth Netflix, for example, has climbed an unbeatable 3,839% since 2009. But Amazon has also been edged out by less splashy brands you’ve probably never heard of before, from an e-trading financial technology company to a medical implant manufacturer.

Here are the surprising best-performing stocks over the past decade that beat out Amazon, how they’ve fared, and what you need to know about them.

 

MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (MKTX)

Stock return since 2009: 2,770%

While it doesn’t have the sexiest name, MarketAxess is an international financial technology (or fintech) company that allows for the trading of corporate bonds and other fixed-income products via its digital platform. Boasting that it’s “creating the future of fixed-income,” MarketAxess has gotten a leg up as investors have moved toward e-trading of bonds.

 

Abiomed Inc. (ABMD)

Stock return since 2009: 2,102%

Abiomed is an innovator in medical implant technology. Founded in 1981, it reached non-GAAP profitability in 2011 and has been on a run. The company has produced the first total replacement heart and the smallest heart pump, capitalizing on the next frontier of possibilities in healthcare.

 

Broadcom Inc. (AVGO)

Stock return since 2009: 1,599%

You may not recognize the name, but in one way or another, you’re familiar with Broadcom. The global manufacturer and supplier of semiconductors is at the root of modern electronics infrastructure, allowing for connectivity in networking, broadband internet, wireless, and more. Without it, streaming Netflix would be a lot harder.

 

United Rentals Inc. (URI)

Stock return since 2009: 1,451%

United is the world’s largest equipment rental company, servicing major construction sites with its branches across the US and Canada. The company has lately delivered especially strongly in the non-residential building market.

 

Align Technology Inc. (ALGN)

Stock return since 2009: 1,440%

You might know Align better by its cash-cow brand, Invisalign, which is used by millions worldwide to adjust their teeth for a more pleasing smile. As old-school braces have gone out of vogue, Align has cornered the market on this next step in teeth alignment.

 

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN)

Stock return since 2009: 1,414%

Another healthcare company outpacing Amazon, Regeneron develops treatments for serious medical conditions. It made headline news with an experimental drug for patients infected with Ebola that proved so effective that it was rushed out to those dealing with an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year.

(Data from S&P Dow Jones Indices is from Dec. 31, 2009, through Dec. 2, 2019. Returns to not include dividends.)

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