The Best Stocks of The 21st Century

January 27, 2016 by Sam Stebbins

Investing in individual companies on the stock market can often seem like a roll of the dice. Share prices of even the largest publicly traded company can soar 25% over two years only to lose all those gains in a couple of months due to a single bad quarterly report. Those who seek long-term financial gains are usually recommended mutual funds or other lower-risk assets.

There are, nevertheless, a handful of large public companies that have been excellent investments throughout the first decade and a half of the millennium. These stocks have had annualized returns in excess of 20% every year since 2000. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 25 companies that yielded the highest average annual returns, including dividends. Even if the stocks were not owned for the full period, shares in each of these companies have increased nearly every year. The highest returning stock has been Monster Beverage Corporation, which began the century effectively as a penny stock and is currently trading at over $140 per share.

Many of the best stocks of the 21st century will not surprise most casual investors. These include companies that have consistently dominated their industry. Apple, for example, has been arguably the most successful consumer electronics company to date. With dividends and share price increase, AAPL has yielded more than 25% for investors annually.

Click here to see the best (and worst) stocks of the 21st century.

Other companies have not merely dominated an industry, but have effectively been the only recognized brand in an up-and-coming segment. Keurig Green Mountain has yielded a 46.8% average annual return on investment over the past decade as the company has benefited from the widespread and rampant adoption of single-serving K-Cups.

Other stocks to make this list are not as much in the immediate public eye as companies like Apple, but nevertheless have been a consistently good investment for years. Henry Schein, Inc., which provides medical and veterinary services and products, had provided a positive year-over-year return for investors in every year this century excepting 2008.

In order to determine the best stocks of the 21st century, 24/7 Wall St. considered current S&P 500 member companies. The 25 best stocks of the 21st century had the annualized returns, including share price change as well as dividend yields. Splits and reverse splits were incorporated into price changes as well. All dividend payment values are from NASDAQ.

These are the best stocks of the 21st century.

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Autozone Inc
Source: Wikimedia Commons

25. AutoZone, Inc. (AZO)
> Avg. annual return:
23.2%
> Current stock price: $728.32
> Shares traded daily: 266,055
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Auto parts stores

O'Reilly Automotive
Source: Wikimedia Commons

24. O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY)
> Avg. annual return:
23.5%
> Current stock price: $239.44
> Shares traded daily: 671,712
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Auto parts stores

23. Henry Schein, Inc. (HSIC)
> Avg. annual return:
23.5%
> Current stock price: $144.70
> Shares traded daily: 500,269
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Medical equipment wholesale

22. JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. (JBHT)
> Avg. annual return:
23.7%
> Current stock price: $68.83
> Shares traded daily: 980,282
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $0.84 per share
> Industry: Trucking

Cerner Corp
Source: Wikimedia Commons

21. Cerner Corporation (CERN)
> Avg. annual return:
23.8%
> Current stock price: $56.18
> Shares traded daily: 2,053,873
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Healthcare information services

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Source:

20. Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN)
> Avg. annual return:
24.0%
> Current stock price: $154.54
> Shares traded daily: 1,656,567
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Biotechnology

Stericycle
Source: Wikimedia Commons

19. Stericycle, Inc. (SRCL)
> Avg. annual return:
24.1%
> Current stock price: $116.91
> Shares traded daily: 649,158
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Waste management

Blackrocklogo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

18. BlackRock, Inc. (BLK)
> Avg. annual return:
24.2%
> Current stock price: $289.72
> Shares traded daily: 653,802
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $8.72 per share
> Industry: Asset management

Altria Group Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

17. Altria Group Inc. (MO)
> Avg. annual return:
24.2%
> Current stock price: $58.40
> Shares traded daily: 6,710,061
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $2.13 per share
> Industry: Cigarettes

Cognizant Tech Solutions Corp
Source: Wikimedia Commons

16. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTSH)
> Avg. annual return:
24.4%
> Current stock price: $60.92
> Shares traded daily: 3,502,852
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Business software & services

Stocks
Source:

15. Ross Stores Inc. (ROST)
> Avg. annual return:
24.8%
> Current stock price: $53.62
> Shares traded daily: 2,714,329
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $0.71 per share
> Industry: Apparel stores

14. Apple Inc. (AAPL)
> Avg. annual return:
25.7%
> Current stock price: $99.44
> Shares traded daily: 51,793,733
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $2.03 per share
> Industry: Electronic equipment

Davita HealthCare Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

13. DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (DVA)
> Avg. annual return:
25.8%
> Current stock price: $66.89
> Shares traded daily: 1,184,177
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Specialized health services

12. AmerisourceBergen Corporation (ABC)
> Avg. annual return:
25.9%
> Current stock price: $91.27
> Shares traded daily: 2,045,598
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $1.21 per share
> Industry: Drugs wholesale

Activision Blizzard Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

11. Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI)
> Avg. annual return:
26.2%
> Current stock price: $34.73
> Shares traded daily: 7,642,857
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $0.23 per share
> Industry: Multimedia & graphics software

Stocks
Source:

10. Ventas, Inc. (VTR)
> Avg. annual return:
26.9%
> Current stock price: $54.98
> Shares traded daily: 2,694,351
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $3.04 per share
> Industry: REIT – healthcare facilities

9. Precision Castparts Corp. (PCP)
> Avg. annual return:
27.1%
> Current stock price: $231.21
> Shares traded daily: 1,479,409
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $0.09 per share
> Industry: Metal fabrication

8. Celgene Corporation (CELG)
> Avg. annual return:
28.1%
> Current stock price: $106.70
> Shares traded daily: 5,132,568
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Biotechnology

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN)
> Avg. annual return:
28.4%
> Current stock price: $473.12
> Shares traded daily: 806,822
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Biotechnology

Carmax Inc Store
Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. CarMax Inc. (KMX)
> Avg. annual return:
29.2%
> Current stock price: $44.98
> Shares traded daily: 1,804,282
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Auto dealerships

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Source:

5. Reynolds American Inc. (RAI)
> Avg. annual return:
30.8%
> Current stock price: $46.89
> Shares traded daily: 6,012,073
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $2.37 per share
> Industry: Cigarettes

Gilead Sciences Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)
> Avg. annual return:
31.5%
> Current stock price: $90.61
> Shares traded daily: 11,253,958
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $1.29 per share
> Industry: Biotechnology

Tractor Supply Co copy
Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. Tractor Supply Company (TSCO)
> Avg. annual return:
35.0%
> Current stock price: $83.52
> Shares traded daily: 938,633
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $0.76 per share
> Industry: Specialty retail

Keurig Green Mountain
Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (GMCR)
> Avg. annual return:
46.8%
> Current stock price: $88.91
> Shares traded daily: 2,822,392
> Total 2015 dividend payments: $1.15 per share
> Industry: Processed & packaged goods

Monster Beverage Cans
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Monster Beverage Corporation (MNST)
> Avg. annual return:
52.3%
> Current stock price: $140.09
> Shares traded daily: 1,220,077
> Total 2015 dividend payments: N/A
> Industry: Beverages – soft drinks